Early Learning Center
Last month, our construction crews installed the load bearing CMU walls in the new early learning center and completed roofing on the addition. Underground utilities are now in, and work continues on the link between the new center and Hilltop. This project represents Phase One of a two-phase early learning center. The first phase of the project will move the four-year-old preschool program onto the school campus to help address our current preschool waiting lists and provide room for future growth. This project is funded by the district lease levy and district and community education fund balance. Our plan is to complete a second phase of the project, which will move the ECFE and three-year-old preschool programs out of Stonegate Plaza and onto the school campus. The timing of Phase Two will depend on preschool enrollment.
MWHS Field 1 (Soule Field)
The district has received two grants for the refurbishment of the varsity baseball field at Mound Westonka High School, also known as Soule Field. We received $10,000 through the Hennepin County Youth Baseball and Softball Grant, which is administered by the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. The purpose of these grants is to allow Hennepin County government agencies (i.e., municipalities, park districts or school districts) and 501c3 nonprofit organizations to create, expand, or improve baseball or softball facilities to enhance opportunities for athletics and recreation. We also received $100,000 through the Hennepin County Youth Sports Program. This grant is made possible through state legislation, authorizing the construction of Target Field and allowing Hennepin County to use a portion of the 0.15% sales tax surcharge to grant over $2 million dollars each year to Hennepin County communities. The purpose of this grant is to allow municipalities, park districts and school districts to create, expand or improve athletic and recreational facilities to enhance opportunities for youth participation. Irrigation, drainage, fencing, accessibility, aesthetics and adding a warning track are on the list for Field 1 improvements. We are in the design phase for this project and plan to bid it out this spring. Work on the field will begin in June, with additional funds coming from the district, Westonka Community Education and private donors.
Final design meetings took place last week for the two projects approved by the May 10, 2016 bond referendum. The new community activities center will include three multi-use courts, a wrestling gym, a fitness room, an elevated track for walking/jogging, community locker rooms, and meeting/gathering space. The new performing arts center will include a 600-seat theater with an orchestra area, a vibrant public lobby with gallery/display space, a green room, dressing rooms, and full-sized scene and costume shops. We are scheduled to break ground on both facilities late May/early June 2017, and they are scheduled to open in the fall of 2018. During the construction process, certain areas of our buildings and grounds will not be accessible. Please look for communication from coaches and program managers this summer about any changes to activities at the high school.
Other Facilities Projects
MWHS Field 2 will be operational in the fall. We were fortunate to have favorable weather last fall, which allowed the new turf to take root. Improvements to this field were made possible through a donation from the soccer association, a Hennepin County grant and district funding. We are looking into replacement options for the Shirley Hills gymnasium floor, as a section of the floor has recently heaved. We are in the process of formulating an RFP for the resurfacing the MWHS track. We have and continue to explore options for improving the outdoor fields at Grandview Middle School and adding parking. This is likely to happen in the summer of 2018.