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The field east of the current Greenvale Park Elementary School will be the site of the new two-story building, while the current building will still serve the district as an early education center. (Sam Wilmes/Northfield News)

Eight months after the $41 million Northfield Public Schools referendum to build a new Greenvale Park Elementary building and conduct other needed renovations, the work is moving along as scheduled.

“… We are on the right track,” said Superintendent Matt Hillmann.

Matt Hillmann

Hillmann

The $41 million referendum, passed with the approval of 63% of voters last November, was a slimmed-down version of a $109 million referendum that failed in 2017.

The district hired Wold Architects and Engineers in December and has been conducting core planning group and user group discussions.

The referendum included plans to build the new elementary school building and using the current one for early education.

The majority of the cost comes with the approximately $27 million price tag for the new school, replacing the original building, which was constructed in 1971. The open concept, which at the time was seen as forward thinking, means Greenvale lacks space to provide the interventions and small group work many students need. The design, however, is perfect for preschoolers.

The new elementary school is expected to be two stories, taking up a smaller footprint than the current building and containing a mix of the large and small instructional spaces in many modern schools. It will also have a fully secure entrance, currently lacking at Greenvale, and be built to hold 16 percent more students that will accommodate the district’s increasing enrollment.

Bids for the Greenvale project are expected to open in mid-July, and the construction is slated to begin this fall. The early education program, meanwhile, is maxed for space at Longfellow School and will move to a larger, more accommodating home in the current Greenvale building once the new one is finished and open to students. This means programming and enrollment can be expanded.

Also included in planned work is approximately $880,000 in the current Greenvale building for renovations, including HVAC system work and bringing the building up to code.

Full-size soccer and lacrosse fields are planned on the west side of the current Greenvale building.

Greenvale first-grade teacher Sari Zach said she is excited for the new building because it partially incorporates the current building’s open environment while allowing students more space to quietly learn.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a great thing for staff and for the community and for the students. I think that we have paid attention to the strengths of Greenvale right now and built that into how we plan for the new building, and I think it is going to be a much improved learning space, but still have that Greenvale vibe.”

At Sibley Elementary, work is expected to begin this fall. A new cafeteria will open up space for the media center and space around the school for various uses. And at Bridgewater Elementary, a new office space and secure entrance at the front of the building will allow opportunities for more flexible learning spaces.

Offices for district staff, currently at the high school, will move to Longfellow School, joining the Alternative Learning Center, which will continue to be housed on the top floor. The newly vacant space at the high school will provide opportunities for new flexible space there.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115.

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