Since 2013, we have been studying and planning for the long-term viability of our school facilities. Our most immediate need at the time was a new Primary School that opened in 2016. The second most pressing need at the time was a renovation for the high school, the core of which has not been updated since 1985. Over the last year, it has become clear that our high school needs attention—we can no longer pack large numbers of students in small classrooms. The vast majority of our PHS classrooms are below MN Department of Education Square-foot Guidelines. This has presented a significant challenge during COVID with six-foot distancing, but physical spacing of at least three feet (a personal bubble) should continue long into the future to promote health and safety.
Our world has changed a lot since 1985 as well, and career pathways are sparking a redesign of our high school classes. As we work toward all students having the opportunity to experience career-readiness courses and project-based learning at the high school, we need to rethink the size and layout of our traditional high school classrooms.
As we have engaged our broader community about facility needs, we are also getting a lot of feedback that reminds us our schools are at the center of our community. When the county public health department needed to conduct vaccine clinics, they came to our schools because we had the only large enough space in the county. This has prompted other groups to think about what community spaces may be needed? In the coming weeks, we will be meeting with city, hospital and chamber leaders as we think broadly about school and community needs. We will be scheduling additional public input sessions later in April. We hope all parents in our community will continue to take an interest in the long-term facilities planning underway.
The Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual Business and Community Expo on April 3 from 9am-1pm. We encourage everyone to drop into the Princeton Public Schools Virtual Booth to learn more!
- Tiger Times