Making Coon Rapids 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 Coon Rapids flier and infographic for details on Coon Rapids High School, and elementary and middle schools that feed into it.
So what's Coon Rapids High School having done?
- Coon Rapids High School will receive $13 million in additions totaling 19,500 square feet, and other improvements to another 32,600 square feet of space in the school.
- Chief among the projects is an addition to the building to address deficiencies in security. A new addition will provide two new entrances — a main, school entrance with security control space to address pre-911 security conditions and provide safety for all students, and an activities entrance for community access to the school’s fieldhouse. A circulation link will be created between the two, connecting the auditorium, cafeteria, food service areas, gyms and parking area to provide zoning and security after hours from the rest of the school.
- An expansion of Coon Rapid's strength/fitness space to provide all student and school/community programs with opportunities before and after school.
- Windows replacement is needed in many areas, and retrofitting them will provide energy efficiency.
What about Coon Rapids and Northdale middle schools, and the Coon Rapids cluster 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 modern learning needs and quality maintenance improvements, including at Coon Rapids and Northdale middle schools, and Coon Rapids cluster elementary schools. Portable classrooms at Sand Creek Elementary School will also be removed as a result of the projects.
- An additional $100 million in deferred maintenance projects are planned in the district over the next 10 years, with a portion specifically for the Coon Rapids cluster 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 Coon Rapids High School, Coon Rapids and Northdale middle schools, and Coon Rapids cluster 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, Blaine, and Champlin Park 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.