Brainerd School District Students Head Back To School Amid Construction
Students across the state headed back to school today, but for students in the Brainerd School District, their schools might look a little different. Three elementary schools are undergoing major construction as part of the Blueprint 181 project.
“This year, we have a construction project going on while we’re also learning and it’s been seamless. We have no academic areas impacted,” said Nisswa Elementary principal Molly Raske.
The school district is undergoing major changes after Brainerd area voters passed a bonding referendum in April of 2018.
“Most of us that are Brainerd people, I feel like we are super excited just because the voters voted ‘yes’ on everything and that really means a lot to those of us that are teachers and have been here our whole lives,” said Karen Schroeder-Stave, a Baxter Elementary first grade teacher who is on the design team for the new school.
Over the next few years, 13 buildings across the district will be remodeled or reconstructed, including all six elementary schools and Brainerd High School.
“We’re done with the first year which was a lot of design work and two other elementaries that are being worked on right now are Nisswa and Harrison and then Riverside, Lowell, Garfield, are in the design phase,” explained Baxter Elementary principal Tammy Stellmach.
At Nisswa Elementary, construction includes building an addition onto the school and also remodeling the existing building.
“We’re building all of our first-grade, second-grade, third-grade, and fourth-grade classrooms while we’re learning this year, as well as our secure entrance is going to be built,” added Raske. “And then all of next summer they will redo the entire interior.”
At Baxter Elementary, a completely new building is being constructed that will better fit the needs of the over 600 students the school serves.
“When we move to our new location, we will really be able to work very hard on having a safe and secure entrance, one main entrance,” Stellmach said.
“The kids are super excited to start at a new school next year, a bigger space, more open areas,” added Schroeder-Stave.
Officials say the renovations and additions will greatly benefit the growing school district.
“We need to grow with the students that are coming as well as we want our walls to match the amazing academic opportunities that are going on,” Raske said.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled at Brainerd High School this Thursday at 9:00 a.m.