UPDATE: Maple Grove City Council Approves Rice Lake Elementary Expansion
The Maple Grove City Council on Tuesday approved the expansion of Rice Lake Elementary school. The project by Osseo Area Schools would construct an 11,810 square-foot addition to the south side of the existing building.
The addition would accommodate six additional classrooms. The expansion also includes a 7,870 square-foot gymnasium addition, as well as an outdoor classroom between the two building additions.
When full in-person learning takes place, the district says the building serves more students than it was built to hold. Students in grades 3-5 are scheduled to return Feb. 1. They would join K-2 students who returned to in-person classes this week following distance learning due to COVID-19.
Enrollment Consistently Exceeds Capacity
According to official numbers from the school district, the school was built to hold a capacity of 619 students. However, the numbers of students attending Rice Lake Elementary have consistently been higher:
- 2017-2018: 689
- 2018-2019: 688
- 2019-2020: 724
- 2020-2021: 661*
- *The number of students for the 2020-2021 school year is lower than usual due to enrollments in full-year Distance Learning Academy.
Last spring, a task force identified the building as a priority concern. The school board approved the superintendent’s recommendation for expansion in June 2020.
The improvements will not only add six more classrooms but create new outdoor classroom space that could include a garden and other learning opportunities. The flexible gym space will also serve as a storm shelter, which is a new building code requirement. Outside of the addition, the playground will be moved and drainage improvements will be made to the playfields. More parking will also be added.
If permits are approved, construction could begin this spring so the new space is ready by next winter.
Listen to the full discussion at the Maple Grove Planning Commission here.
CCX News Executive Producer Corey Bork contributed to this report