2019 bringing major renovations to Mounds View Public Schools

courtesy Wold Architects and Mounds View Public Schools A portion of the $165 million bond issue approved by Mounds View Public School District voters in 2017 will go towards updating and expanding Irondale High School. Construction is expected to begin this year.

courtesy Wold Architects and Mounds View Public Schools This floor plan shows the proposed additions in blue and the renovations in red for the main floor of Mounds View High School.

Bids and construction for the Mounds View Public Schools’ district-wide building projects, including the most intensive renovations, are on pace to get under way in 2019.

The three-phase construction effort includes work on 12 school buildings in the district and is backed by the $165 million bond issue approved by voters in 2017 to accommodate growing enrollment.

By the close of 2018, design work on the first two phases of construction had largely finished. 

“At this point in time, for those two phases, most of the design work has been completed in terms of what we want things to look like,” said Assistant Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover.

Renovations at Highview Middle School have already been completed. The rest have yet to break ground.

Island Lake Elementary and Pike Lake Education Center are both set to add classroom space. Bel Air Elementary will also add cafeteria and special education space.

Edgewood Middle School, Mounds View High School and Irondale High School will undergo extensive renovations. With the exception of Pike Lake, the district expects to seek bids in early 2019 and begin work shortly thereafter.

“We’re going to have significant site work going at Pike Lake here in the middle of January,” Ridlehoover said. “Most of the other projects are going to start with shovels in the ground probably March or April.”


Class stays in session

Irondale, Mounds View High and Edgewood Middle are the biggest projects of the bunch, and construction is expected to last multiple years as the district manages renovations around normal school business.

“It’s going to take considerable time,” said Paul Aplikowski of Wold Architects and Engineers during a Dec. 11 school board meeting. “It does slow things down, but obviously people know that school comes first.”

Work at Edgewood will improve or add athletic space, including a pool, gym and locker facilities. The school will also gain a science lab, more cafeteria space and six dedicated classrooms, among other additions.

Irondale High School will add six classrooms, a 650-seat auditorium and main office space. Renovations will include an expanded commons area and new fitness space to replace the pool. The building’s exterior will also get a facelift.

Mounds View High will gain seven classrooms and a gymnasium. Renovations will be done to the school’s common areas, locker rooms and cafeterias.


‘Rows are no longer the fad’

All the work is planned and staged to allow school to occur around construction as best as possible, Ridlehoover said. One of the biggest headaches may be parking.

Construction at Mounds View High, for example, will eat up parking space on the south side of the building. But by asserting eminent domain and paying $2.3 million, the district acquired a lot across the street to the north of the school. That area will provide parking and construction staging, Ridlehoover said.

After all is finished, the schools will have more parking than when work started. Irondale will add 70 spots, Aplikowski told the school board.

The final phase of construction is slated for 2020. That includes Pinewood, Sunnyside and Valentine Hills elementary schools and Chippewa Middle School.

In all, the district will add 43 classrooms across its schools. Ridlehoover said that the renovation planning focused on security measures, like updates to entryways, and making flexible classroom or activity space. Learning spaces aren’t laid out the same as they used to be. They need to be open and adaptable.

“Rows are no longer the fad,” he said. “We’re looking at spreading kids out in the room, giving them space to work collaboratively.”

The costs of each project will be finalized through the bidding process, which is expected in March. The school district has construction layouts, renovation renderings and general project information on its facilities page at www.moundsviewschools.org/facilities.


–Matt Hudson can be reached at mhudson@lillienews.com or 651-748-7825.

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