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Continued: Wayzata asks voters for $109 million to ease school overcrowding

  • Article by: KIM MCGUIRE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 18, 2014 - 5:39 AM

“Inevitably, our class sizes will go up,” he said. “We are very committed to maintaining our class-size targets. However, we can’t do that if we run out of classrooms.”

Growth accelerating

School leaders weren’t looking at first to build an elementary school. Then two unexpected things happened.

Last February, updated enrollment figures cast doubt on whether the district’s elementary schools could handle future growth even with additions at Greenwood, Oakwood and Sunset Hills elementaries.

Then, last May, the Legislature approved funding for all-day kindergarten. That meant the district had to find 14 to 15 more classrooms to accommodate all-day programming. That’s about one-half the number of classrooms in a typical Wayzata elementary.

“That was the game changer,” Anderson said.

The revised plan now calls for building an eighth elementary school north of Hwy. 55 to accommodate 760 students.

Also, the district hopes to expand the high school by 172,000 square feet for new classrooms and labs, a bigger cafeteria and another entrance.

So far, there’s little organized opposition to the plan, although some fliers put up around town have questioned why the district hasn’t opted to build a second high school.

School board members did consider that, but ultimately decided against the idea because of expense.

In addition, many in the community — including students — didn’t like the idea of splitting district kids up. With one large high school, students have a multitude of choices when it comes to joining groups, clubs and athletic teams.

For example, there are baking, knitting and film groups as well as a “music listening team” that recently finished second in the state competition.

“It keeps all of the resources here,” said junior Charlie Chermak about the plan to expand the high school. “The greatest thing about our high school is the fact it offers so many opportunities. I wouldn’t want that to change.”

 

Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469

  • related content

  • MINNESOTA TOPICS: Wayzata

    Find the latest news and information about Wayzata.

  • Wayzata High School students crowded a foyer as they waited for their lunch break. The high school, the largest in Minnesota, is at capacity with 3,200 students and is projected to add 700 to 900 students over the next 10 years.

  • What: The Wayzata School District is seeking $109 million to expand the current high school, build a new elementary school and improve infrastructure. It’s also seeking to renew a technology levy.

    Financial impact: For the owner of a $333,900 home, the tax impact would be $10 a month. There would be no tax increase for the renewed technology levy.

    When: Voting will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 25

    For more information: Go to www.wayzata.k12.mn.us/referendum

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