A 16-foot-tall stainless steel and bronze fountain, the latest addition to Burnsville’s Nicollet Commons Park, will be revealed to the public at a ceremony on Thursday, June 2.

The Burnsville Community Foundation commissioned the project. Titled “Ascent,” it’s the creation of sculptor Foster Willey, whose portfolio includes an abstract sculpture at the park.

“Ascent” was inspired by Ken Slipka, the former president of the Burnsville Community Foundation who died in 2013. The project cost about $140,000 and was paid for entirely with donations, said vice president of fundraising Mary Jo DeLise.

Formed in 1998 to promote art and amenities in Burnsville, the foundation will be selecting another large project as soon as this one is done, DeLise said.

The Thursday unveiling is open to the public. It will be held at Nicollet Commons Park, at 12600 Nicollet Av. in Burnsville. It will run from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and feature live music, food and a presentation from Willey about how the sculpture was created.

Emma Nelson


High school principal will step down

Shakopee High School’s principal of two years, Ben Kusch, will step down at the end of this school year. He cited the need for more family time as the reason for his departure.

Kusch was previously principal at Farmington High School for six years. He’s also served as assistant principal at Tartan High School in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district and began his career teaching Spanish.

The district is searching for Kusch’s replacement and hopes to make a selection by July 1.

Erin Adler


Groundbreaking set for new City Hall

Shakopee officials plan to break ground on the city’s new, $8.5 million City Hall next week.

The ceremony, at 4 p.m. Monday, June 6, is open to the public. The site is next to the Police Department on Gorman Street.

The project includes a 58-seat council chambers, public community/meeting room and updated staff work spaces. The project is not expected to increase taxes.

The city’s government has been housed in a former bank building on Holmes Street since 1993. The new City Hall will create a centralized campus for city employees downtown.

Construction is expected to be completed by next spring.

Natalie Daher


South High facing maintenance problems

Lakeville’s newest school is in need of major repairs, from carpeting to concrete to ceilings.

Built in 2004 for about $42 million, Lakeville South High School has a leaking roof, water seeping into the orchestra pit and cracks in windows and walls.

The district’s architectural firm and outside structural engineers found that the problems are related to deferred maintenance, according to a district spokeswoman. No serious safety hazards were found.

“The well-being of our students, staff and community members who use our buildings is of paramount importance,” said communications director Amy Olson. “We are taking the appropriate steps needed to address the maintenance issues.”

Erin Adler

West St. Paul

City plans for art park on donated land

West St. Paul city officials are making plans for an art park showcasing local art.

At a May 23 work session, city leaders discussed the future park, at Oakdale and Butler avenues. The park was donated to the city by U.S. Bank in 2012 with the condition that the city could not sell or develop the land.

Art at the park would be displayed in backlit poster boxes. Current concept plans for the park include a sidewalk lighted with fiber optics, a landscaped garden with park signs and trees. The city originally approved a budget of $20,000 for the park, but costs have continued to climb, now reaching about $52,000.

The council proposed different ways to curb costs for the park at the meeting. Council members also suggested collaborating with the local high schools to put their art on display.