High school students in Sartell and St. Stephen soon will walk into a new collaborative learning environment equipped with more flexible project and science labs, career and technical education spaces and inventive learning areas.
At the heart of the school is a two-story commons area that features a learning stair and a black box theater, creating the possibility of a theater in the round at the heart of the building. In addition to school functions, the large space is intended to be used as a pre-event space for the performing arts center and the activities spaces, as well as for community events.
Sartell-St. Stephen School District started construction on the new 294,000-square-foot Sartell High School in May 2017 and plans to welcome the first class in the fall of 2019. The new school, designed through a partnership with IIW Minnesota and Cuningham Group Architects, will accommodate 1,350 students in grades 9-12 and will include six learning communities on two levels. The facility’s new collaborative approach aims to help meet the district’s goal to be adaptable for the future and to support a variety of learning styles and foster global preparedness.
Voters approved the construction of the new school in May 2016. David Leapaldt, senior architect and project manager at IIW, has been working with the Cuningham Group and the district since 2014 when they facilitated a group of nearly 100 community members, staff, and administrators to envision the future of the Sartell-Stephen School District.
The District is building the new high school on land that was acquired adjacent to Oak Ridge Elementary when that school was built in 2004. The site design takes care to separate the student and vehicular traffic of the two schools for safety and to reduce congestion.
The site will feature soccer and lacrosse fields, baseball and softball fields, and practice areas for football. Design of the site allows for the addition of a stadium at some time in the future.
The high school is part of a multi-phase facilities project that also includes remodeling the current high school to a middle school, transforming the existing middle school into an intermediate school for grades 3-5 students, and remodeling two elementary schools.