So what's included in making Andover schools Fit for the Future?
Voters are curious about what exactly is happening to the schools in their neighborhoods and attendance boundaries. Check out the Andover cluster flier and infographic for details on Andover High School, and elementary and middle schools that feed into it.
So what's Andover High School having done?
- Andover High School will receive $29.4 million in additions totaling 67,000 square feet, and other improvements to another 5,700 square feet of space in the school.
- Chief among the projects is an addition to the building to create safe and secure learning environments through the removal of 12 portable classrooms. The school was originally designed for 1,400 students, but today 1,700 students attend the school. The projects will bring the school’s capacity to 2,000 students.
- There will also be an expansion of the school’s security control space to address pre-911 security conditions and provide safety for all students.
- Also included in the work: the classroom expansion will include new team areas, group learning space, and staff planning areas, as well as additional student lockers; expansion of administrative and guidance areas to support the expanded capacity; and an auditorium expansion to increase seating and better serve the increased student capacity and community.
- In addition, there will be an expansion of the school’s cafeteria to accommodate the expanded capacity; an expansion of Andover’s strength/fitness space to provide all students and school/community programs with opportunities before and after school; an additional gymnasium attached to existing gym space to accommodate the expanded capacity and address storage deficiencies, making the gym space similar to Blaine and Anoka high schools; remodeling and expansion of physical education locker space, and athletic storage.
What about Oak View Middle School, and Andover, Crooked Lake and Rum River elementary schools?
- All across the district, science labs, media centers, and classrooms haven’t been improved with appropriate technology, power infrastructure, or reconfigurations to meet today’s learning needs. Districtwide, $4.5 million will be used to provide schools with equitable space that supports today’s learning needs and quality maintenance improvements, including at Oak View Middle School, and Andover, Crooked Lake and Rum River elementary schools.
- In addition, special education classrooms throughout the district have deficiencies, including restroom configuration. Districtwide, $1.9 million will be used to provide special education students with updated facilities to better serve their physical and learning needs, including at Andover High School, Oak View Middle School, and Andover, Crooked Lake and Rum River elementary schools.
What's happening elsewhere in the Anoka-Hennepin School District?
- Similar additions and improvements will be occurring to schools in the Anoka, Blaine, Champlin Park and Coon Rapids clusters.
- In addition, River Trail Learning Center in Coon Rapids, which serves district special education students with the highest needs, will get $11.1 million in additions and improvements, including additional classroom and program space for students with significant emotional and behavioral needs; security modifications to provide safety for all students; and a cafeteria expansion to accommodate the growing student population.
- Due to rapid population growth and new home construction, the district will use $70.8 million to construct two new elementary schools — one in Blaine and another in Ramsey — which will reduce overcrowding in schools where student populations are significantly growing.
Some facts about Anoka-Hennepin’s buildings and its history of referendums
- Every day, thousands of students at nine district schools attend classes in portable classrooms in yards and parking lots because the permanent building they go to doesn’t have adequate space. There are 62 portable classrooms in all, posing a safety and security risk to students and staff.
- The last time Anoka-Hennepin’s School Board asked voters to approve major additions and renovations to district facilities was in 1999 (construction of Andover High School, Rum River and Oxbow Creek elementary schools, and an addition to Oak View Middle School), and the last time the community was asked to approve a new operating levy was a decade ago, in 2007. In both cases, the community was involved in the planning and voters approved the proposals.
- Just in the last seven years, several district schools have seen their student enrollment increase 10-15 percent. These sites are running out of space to accommodate students as populations grow.
- While existing facilities are well-maintained, the average age of district schools is 50-years-old. Schools built half-a-century ago were designed for the 1950s and 60s teaching model, and don’t have adequate science labs or media centers.