A bright view of second-grade teacher Jeff Budin’s new classroom: from left, student teachers Aspen Lair and Laura Jankowski and teachers Ruth Krider, Mao Lee and Budin. Photo by Kristal Leebrick

These second-grade teachers at St. Anthony Park Elementary School are smiling because: windows.

Second grade has moved into new classrooms at the southeast corner of the building, which is undergoing a $12.4 million remodel that began last spring. Many classrooms in the building, which was first built in 1953 with an addition built in 1974, were placed in the center of the building and had no windows. The remodel, which is scheduled to be completed by August 2018, will include a new cafeteria and main entry, more restrooms, more natural light and an expanded second floor with increased classroom space.

“We are now crowded into about two-thirds of our space, while the construction proceeds around the heart of the building,” which will be a new two-story library, said principal Karen Duke. “We are making do with much less space and some improvised spaces. We have temporary classrooms built in the gym for a couple of months. Late in the fall, four more new classrooms will open up in the space formerly occupied by first grade. In the spring we will see another group of classrooms and, we hope, our library.”

The school’s remodel is scheduled to be completed by August 2018.

Over the summer, Duke said the school’s cafeteria was packed with the contents of 16 classrooms plus the library and its books. “You couldn’t take a step into the room, and it was piled up to about 15 feet,” she said. “After movers moved everything to its place, teachers worked tirelessly this week to move back in, set up, and make the classrooms look comfortable and welcoming for our students.”

After school let’s out next June, the remodel of the school office area, the building of an addition on the multi-purpose room (which will also have windows) and remodel of the classrooms on the west and south side of the building will begin.

The construction project comes at the same time Como Avenue is under construction.

“It will be a little crazy for the next two months with Como closed,” Duke said. “I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and flexibility with the inconveniences, especially related to parking and traffic around the school. After seeing the results of the work this summer, I know the finished building is going to be beautiful.”—Kristal Leebrick 


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