So what's included in making Anoka 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 Anoka cluster flier and infographic for details on Anoka High School, and elementary and middle schools that feed into it.
So what's Anoka High School having done?
- Anoka High School will receive $20.4 million in additions totaling 43,000 square feet, and other improvements to another 14,000 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 six portable classrooms.
- There will also be a relocation of the school’s administrative offices for security control to address pre-911 security conditions and provide safety for all students.
- The student dining area, which is 40 percent too small, will be expanded to alleviate the currently congested lunch periods.
- Also included in the work: the media center will be remodeled to make it equitable to other district high schools; a music space expansion will create a properly designed space for student instruction and performances; staff planning space and staff restrooms will be created; a dance studio space will be constructed for school and community use; an expansion of Anoka’s strength/fitness space to provide all students and school/community programs with opportunities before and after school.
A new elementary school in Ramsey
- Due to rapid population growth and new home construction in Ramsey, the district will use $35.4 million to construct a new elementary school at Nowthen Blvd. and 170th St., which will reduce overcrowding in schools where student populations are significantly growing, but specifically in Ramsey and Anoka.
- The new building will be based upon the design of Oxbow Creek Elementary School in Brooklyn Park.
- Another new elementary school will be constructed in Blaine as well.
What about Anoka Middle School for the Arts?
- Both the Fred Moore and Washington campuses of Anoka Middle School for the Arts will get additions totaling $27.5 million to their buildings to create safe and secure learning environments, allowing all portable classrooms to be removed at the Washington campus.
- Specifically at Washington: a $9.3 million, 23,000 square foot addition will bring new classrooms, as well as band and choir rooms. In addition, a new gymnasium and support space will be constructed for physical education and community use.
- Specifically at Fred Moore: two additions, totaling $18.2 million will provide 29,000 square foot of new space. The south addition will move the administrative offices to a new front entrance that will allow for security control to address pre-911 security conditions and provide safety for all students; and add a new cafeteria with new food service and serving facilities. A north-side addition will connect to the existing community swimming pool and add new space for the school, teams and the community; and add flexible learning areas to support the school.
What about Crooked Lake, Franklin, Lincoln, Ramsey, Rum River and Wilson 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 Crooked Lake, Franklin, Lincoln, Ramsey, Rum River and Wilson 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 Anoka High School, Anoka Middle School for the Arts, and Crooked Lake, Franklin, Lincoln, Ramsey, Rum River and Wilson elementary schools.
What's happening elsewhere in the Anoka-Hennepin School District?
- Similar additions and improvements will be occurring to schools in the Andover, 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.
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.