The dust of several construction projects will be settled as students head back to the halls of the Pequot Lakes School District.
A three-year, $33 million project is finally at an end. Come the first day of school, just the final touches — a little more paint and tile work — will be the only items left to add, said Pequot Lakes School District Superintendent Chris Lindholm.
“When students come back, it will be the finished product by and large,” he said.
It’s been a smooth project, he said. Everything was on budget and there were no hiccups in the process.
The construction project included many additions and remodeling projects. In February of 2011, voters approved the $33 million construction project that was overseen by ICS Consulting of Mounds View.
A bulk of the money, or $25 million, went toward the additions that include:
• A 7,000-square-foot fifth-grade wing.
• A 5,000-square-foot media center.
• A 12,000-square-foot science wing consisting of labs and classrooms.
• A 65,000-square-foot physical education building.
• A 3,000-square-foot district and high school office.
• An 8,500-square-foot addition at Eagle View Elementary School to house Early Childhood Family Education and Early Childhood Special Education programs.
Other funds were used for a roofing project, footings and foundation of the additions and architecture and engineering fees.
“I’m excited to see all this stuff filled with students and staff, and to see how the vision comes to fruition at end of project,” Lindholm said.
One of this summer’s main focuses was the kitchen and cafeteria area.
“That core will feel new to students and staff,” Lindholm said.
The pre-construction cafeteria setup didn’t have enough room for all of the students to eat together, forcing some to find seating elsewhere in the building.
Another main focus this summer was the new gym facility, which now looks “beautiful,” Lindholm said.
Before the update, the track and football fields were in poor shape. Those pieces were completed in a previous spring, but the athletic building itself was concentrated on this summer, including locker rooms, an auxiliary room, a walking track, a fitness area and three courts and a main gymnasium in one area. There are also concession stands.
The school has a new security entrance so when the doors are locked during the school hours people will be forced to go into the school and district offices.
As the whole construction project comes to an end, it’s “incredibly exciting,” Lindholm said. It adds more of a sense of community. It allows the students to eat and socialize together, and more room for staff to work, he said.
“I hope the students and staff feel a big step forward in how teaching and learning is to happen,” he said.