Fit for the Future update: schools prepared for students as construction improvements continue
(09/06/19) Over the past year, Anoka-Hennepin has seen a lot of construction. Two new elementary schools and big renovations at all five of the district’s traditional high schools helped make the past two summers as well as this past school year an exciting time.
The work is all part of the district’s Fit for the Future plan, which was backed by voters in November 2017, when the community approved a request for new funding to create safe and secure learning environments by removing portable classrooms across the district, the construction of additional schools and classroom space, provide solutions for maintaining quality schools at every building in the district, and addressing class sizes at all levels.
“I just want to reiterate how thankful I am to the voters of Anoka-Hennepin that they committed hard-earned tax dollars to support the facilities that serve our students,” said Greg Cole, the district’s chief operations officer. “Because of their generosity, our schools will be safer, more spacious, and more accommodating for a variety of activities. We're working hard to ensure the vision of the Fit for the Future referendum becomes a reality.”
The new school year began Sept. 3, and most of the projects were completed in time for students to return. The sites that weren't will have work wrapped up will be by Oct. 1. And now Anoka-Hennepin’s eyes are looking forward to the second phase of the Fit for the Future plan, which involves a host of additional renovation projects at schools all around the district.
At Andover High School (AndHS), phase one work on a two-story classroom addition in front of the school was completed on time, and the cafeteria expansion on the rear of the building and the second story addition to the auditorium were also finished. Phase two construction on the gymnasium and fitness spaces will begin in the spring of 2020, with completion scheduled for the end of the 2020-21 school year. See photos of AndHS.
At Anoka High School, phase one work on a new main entry and office area is nearly complete, and the classroom addition on the front of the building will be finished in mid- to late-September. Phase two work has already begun at the school, which will expand the school’s fieldhouse and cafeteria. Those projects will be complete for the start of the 2020-21 school year. See photos of AHS.
At Blaine High School (BHS), the two-story classroom addition and cafeteria expansion, which were part of phase one work at the school, were finished on time. Meanwhile, phase two expansion of the fieldhouse and fitness areas, as well as the construction of a new front entry and main office area, will begin in the spring of 2020 with completion set for the start of the 2021-22 school year. See photos of BHS.
At Champlin Park High School, the phase one work on a two-story classroom addition on the west side of the school, the fieldhouse addition on the south side, and the auditorium storage on the east side, were all finished for the start of school this year. There are no phase two projects at the school. See photos of CPHS.
At Coon Rapids High School, phase one work to create a new front entrance with the relocation of the main offices is set to be done in mid-September. Meanwhile, phase two work, which will complete the link to the fieldhouse side of the school, add a new fitness center, a new music room, and remodel several classrooms, is set to start in the spring of 2020 with completion in time for the 2021-22 school year. See photos of CRHS.
Other phase two projects
Construction will begin at both Anoka Middle School for the Arts campuses in the spring of 2020. At Washington, a classroom addition will be constructed, and the school’s gym and cafeteria will be expanded. Fred Moore will also have a classroom addition, and that school will also see the cafeteria expanded and the main office and front entry moved. All of the work will be done for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
At Champlin Brooklyn Park Academy (CBPA), a large classroom addition will begin in the spring of 2020, as well as an expansion to the school’s media center, cafeteria, and gym. This expansion will allow Jackson Middle School to reclaim a number of classrooms that CBPA has been using. All of the work will be done for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
River Trail Learning Center at L.O. Jacob will see a large classroom addition constructed, as well as a number of special education improvements. All of the work will be done for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
All district schools will also see a number of science, media center, and special education improvements by the end of the 2022-23 school year as part of the Fit for the Future plan.
In addition to all of the construction work, most of the district’s 64 portable classrooms have been removed from schools around the district. The only remaining ones are located at JMS and AMSA’s Washington campus, and those will be removed when phase two construction work at those sites is finished.
“Again, I can't thank the citizens of Anoka-Hennepin enough for their support of our students, our schools, and our communities,” Cole said.
Projects outside Fit for the Future
In addition to Fit for the Future projects, Cole said there have been many other capital improvement projects happening over the summer at schools in the community. Most notably, there has been a parking lot expansion and the moving of tennis courts at BHS, a new driveway entrance for buses at Roosevelt Middle School, a Coon Rapids Middle School classroom renovation and parking lot expansion, a new Monroe Elementary School bus corral and new south parking lot, and new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems at multiple schools.