So what's included in making Blaine 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 Blaine cluster flier and infographic for details on Blaine High School, and elementary and middle schools that feed into it.
So what's Blaine High School having done?
- Blaine High School will receive $26.7 million in additions totaling 58,500 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 10 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: special education rooms will be added to move programs from inappropriate spaces currently being used; staff planning space and staff restrooms will be created; a dance studio space will be constructed for school and community use; an expansion of Blaine’s strength/fitness space to provide all students and school/community programs with opportunities before and after school.
A new elementary school in Blaine
- Due to rapid population growth and new home construction in Blaine, the district will use $35.4 million to construct a new elementary school at 125th Avenue NE and Lever Street NE, which will reduce overcrowding in schools where student populations are significantly growing, but specifically in Blaine.
- 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 Ramsey as well.
What about Northdale and Roosevelt middle schools, and Eisenhower, Jefferson, Johnsville, Madison, McKinley, Sand Creek, and University Avenue 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 Northdale and Roosevelt middle schools, and Eisenhower, Jefferson, Johnsville, Madison, McKinley, Sand Creek and University Avenue elementary schools. Portable classrooms at Madison, McKinley and Sand Creek elementary schools will be removed as a result of the projects.
- 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 Blaine High School, Northdale and Roosevelt middle schools, and Eisenhower, Jefferson, Johnsville, Madison, McKinley, Sand Creek and University Avenue elementary schools.
What's happening elsewhere in the Anoka-Hennepin School District?
- Similar additions and improvements will be occurring to schools in the Andover, Anoka, 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.