Not even completed with its first ever school year, Prairie View Elementary and Middle School in Otsego is already moving earth and placing concrete footings to expand.
Last spring the ISD 728 School Board approved a package of bids that will move the idea of an additional classroom wing and third, full-sized gymnasium at Prairie View Elementary and Middle School from plans and drawings to brick and mortar.
These additions will be completed in Spring 2019 and open to students in time for the 2019-2020 school year, the same year the school adds its eighth and final grade section. It will add seventh grade in 2018-2019.
“Construction of these two additions began in April, and have really done everything we can to keep disruption at a minimum. The architect and general contractor have said this start time will allow exterior work to be completed before the winter weather season of 2018-2019 could delay aspects of the project,” said Kari Sampson, principal at PVEMS. This April start time will also reduce the project timeline, which means students can utilize the facility earlier and taxpayers will save money due to a shortened construction timeline, Sampson added.
Construction will continue into next school year, and ISD 728 Community Relations Director Cory Franson said the school board and staff recognize the challenges and inconveniences that come with construction, and are working tirelessly to minimize them.
“While construction season means additional workers will be present, safety remains our top priority and security plans are already in place. Building operations staff, the administration, and Wright County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Fox, our Student Resource Officer, are all part of the plan and are available to assist with whatever needs arise,” Franson said.
The school is already changing shape this spring. As part of the construction process, with construction fencing, excavation equipment and on-site trailers for construction staff already present on the grounds. Additional signage is be in place for truck drivers and haulers as the school strives to keep construction traffic separated from students, parents and families.
Prairie View opened its doors at near capacity, the district said, the result of several factors – growth continues to explode in southwest Otsego with Lennar and other developers adding homes by the dozens. The district also “recaptured” nearly 200 students that were open enrolling to the STMA School District nearby, which is facing its own space crunch as it expands multiple buildings there.
District administrators and community education leaders recently informed early education families those students will be moved for one year as the district adds seventh grade in 2018-2019, prior to the new expansion’s opening in summer of 2019 for the following school year.