Shakopee residents can watch the first phase of the $30.4 million community center and ice arena project kick off April 1 at the campus at 1255 Fuller St. S.

The project, scheduled to be finished in June 2017, will include construction of a two-sheet ice arena, and addition of a community room, an indoor playground, drop-off child care, a senior lounge and a teen center.

Also included is a 24,500-square-foot indoor aquatic center and updates to existing fitness center and studios.

Members of the Shakopee City Council and Park and Recreation Advisory Board will attend the public event.

Natalie Daher

BURNSVILLE

Students win congressional app contest

An app created by Burnsville High School students has won U.S. Rep. John Kline’s Congressional App Challenge, held earlier this month.

Junior Emma Hakanson and sophomore Fiona Chow built “Birdsong,” an app intended to enhance the bird-watching experience with interactive information about a variety of Minnesota birds.

“I enjoyed visiting with Emma and Fiona and learning about their app and am proud to showcase their creativity and technological talents,” Kline said in a statement.

“Our students of today are tomorrow’s innovators, and it is encouraging to see what Minnesota’s best and brightest have to offer.”

The App Challenge was created to encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills among students nationwide.

High school students compete within their congressional districts, and winners have their apps posted on the U.S. House of Representatives website and displayed at the U.S. Capitol.

Emma Nelson

Farmington

School district approves solar panel deal

Solar gardens soon will sprout on all of Farmington’s school buildings, at no extra cost to the district.

The Farmington School District approved an agreement at its meeting on March 14 with Sundial Solar and investor Kenyon Energy to install the solar panels.

The school board estimates that the district will save $74,250 during the first year on current annual electric costs of $960,000.

The contract gives the district the option of buying the panels after seven or 15 years.

Natalie Daher

DAKOTA COUNTY

County contracts to update property images

Dakota County residents might want to prune their shrubs and spruce up their front yards this spring, because the county assessor’s office has partnered with CycloMedia Technology to snap street-level images of properties across the county.

CycloMedia will use two cars equipped with top-mounted cameras and global positioning equipment to take pictures that the county will use for its land records.

The county entered into a contract of about $249,000 with CycloMedia to use its imaging services.

About 91 percent of Dakota County’s current images used for property information are more than seven years old, said County Assessor Teresa Mitchell.

“This is a new type of technology that allows us to use up-to-date imagery in our appraisal process,” said Mitchell.

CycloMedia has started snapping pictures in the northern portion of the county and will continue in phases until May 15.

Beatrice Dupuy

Washington County

Special election set for board vacancy

The Washington County Board on Tuesday approved a special election to fill the Second District seat left vacant by the death this month of Commissioner Ted Bearth.

The election will be held at the same time as the regularly scheduled general election on Nov. 8.

If more than two candidates file for the office, a primary will be held Aug. 9.

Candidate filings will be May 17 to 31.

More than a year remains in Bearth’s term, so the law requires a special election to fill the remainder of the term that ends in 2018.

The board will operate with four members until the election of the new commissioner, who will take office once the results are certified in mid-November.

The Second District, which takes in a strip of west-central Washington County, includes Birchwood, Landfall, Oakdale, Pine Springs, Willernie, and parts of Mahtomedi, White Bear Lake and Woodbury.

David Peterson