Kraus-Anderson Construction has begun building six school-expansion projects in White Bear Lake as part of that district's $326 million school bond referendum that was passed last year.

The projects, built by Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson and designed by Wold Architects and Engineers of St. Paul, represent the first phase of a 16-school construction plan that will stretch into the White Bear Lake 2024-25 school year, officials said.

The district expects enrollment to increase by roughly 2,000 students by the year 2030, so school officials took their construction needs to the voters late last year. The referendum passed 13 months ago, marking the largest successful school bond referendum in the state's history.

Now it's time for the excavators.

The renovations are the latest in a long line of school-building plans for Kraus-Anderson, which has completed more than $1 billion in K-12 school construction projects in five years. The company is the 12th-largest K-12 building-services firm in the country and expects to work on another 42 projects in 16 school districts next year that are worth more than $300 million.

The largest of the projects starting this week include an addition and renovations to White Bear Lake's Lincoln Elementary, a $9 million expansion that will add a gym, storm-shelter area, conference room and offices. The cafeteria, kitchen, media center, bathrooms, parking lot and bus loop are being renovated.

The company is also breaking ground on a $8.9 million transportation facility just north of White Bear Lake in Hugo. It will store the district's transportation vehicles.

All Kraus-Anderson's other district projects involve school buildouts in White Bear Lake.

For example, it is constructing a $6.2 million addition to White Bear Lake Area High School's South Campus on McKnight Road North. When done, the school will have a new 14,500-square-foot gym and connecting corridor, plus a new entrance, bathrooms and storage.

Other plans include projects aimed at Matoska International IB World School, Willow Lane Elementary School and Vadnais Heights Elementary School.

Matoska's $4.1 million project will give the school on Spruce Place two extra classrooms, new flex space, lockers and a new entrance, corridor and walk-in kitchen freezer. Existing classrooms, bathrooms and a learning common area will be renovated.

Willow Lane Elementary on Willow Avenue is getting a $2.7 million makeover that will expand its media center and remodel the kitchen, bathrooms and storage rooms.

Vadnais Heights Elementary School on Centerville Road will see $1.7 million of work that adds a new maintenance area and renovates the kitchen, bathrooms and library.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725