‘Where are the cranes?’

Mounds View school district still in design stage for planned $165 million worth of construction.

Since the bond referendum granting the Mounds View Public School District $165 million for facility improvements passed last November, many people have wondered, “Where are the cranes?” said Superintendent Chris Lennox at the Feb. 13 school board meeting. 

The added wear and tear of additional students is what prompted the facility improvements bond question. 

In 2016, the 11,190 students in Mounds View schools was an enrollment record. Following this growth trajectory, the district’s projected total enrollment for 2024 is 12,740.

With that expected growth, the district will use the bond money to update and add to its 12 existing facilities; the work will come in three phases, according to the district.

Pike Lake Education Center, Island Lake Elementary School, and Edgewood and Highview middle schools are in the first phase. Design work is underway now for those buildings and will go into the spring. Construction begins this summer and fall and will be completed, depending on the facility and improvements, between late 2018 and fall 2021. 

Phase two includes Bel Air and Turtle Lake elementary schools and Irondale and Mounds View high schools. Design work for those projects goes from spring to winter of this year. Construction starts in the fall and is expected to end between winter 2019 and fall 2021. 

Phase three includes Chippewa Middle School and the Pinewood, Sunnyside and Valentine Hills elementary schools. Design work will run from spring until the summer of 2019. Construction starts in the summer of 2019 with an estimated end in winter 2020. 

Construction schedules are estimations, said district Public Relations Director Colin Sokolowski, during a facilities improvements presentation to the school board at the Feb. 13 meeting.

Phase one is still in the design phase, which involves design teams made up of community members and school district staff and administrators, said Scott McQueen of Wold Architects, the firm hired to assess district buildings. 

Parents who want to get involved in the planning process need to contact their facility’s principal, said Assistant Superintendent John Ward. 

Sokolowski said all facility improvement schedules and information can be found on the district website, www.moundsviewschools.org/facilities. 

Updates to look out for are facility closures due to construction, said Ward, adding the school district will “try to be conservative” with the closures. He said Highview Middle School will be closed this summer, causing summer school to be held at Mounds View High School, and that Pike Lake Educational Center will be “taken out of commission.”


 

—Solomon Gustavo

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