Columbia Heights Public Schools broke ground on another project this week: the expansions and renovations of North Park Elementary School. This project is part of the 2018 bond referendum to modernize the elementary school as well as improve its safety and security deficiencies.

“There are so many things about the design of this school, the age of this school that have made it so difficult for our children to have the safest possible learning environment,” Principal Jeff Cacek said.

North Park is getting a secure, single-point entry for all visitors. The school’s office is being relocated to enhance security as well.

Buses are getting a new entrance and exit so they’re separated from the playground. There will also be a new entrance, exit and parking lot for other vehicles.

Learning spaces will be improved for Pre-K and kindergarten students so they can experience hands-on learning programs. The science, art, media arts, special education and library spaces will be improved as well.

The cafeteria will be separated from the gym.

Other parts of the referendum include new performing arts spaces and a new band room for Columbia Heights High School. Those projects are expected to be finished by the end of January 2020.

Construction will continue throughout the school year, but much of the renovations will take place over the summer when school is not in session, according to Director of Community Eduction & Communications Kristen Stuenkel.

North Park is set to be completed before the 2020-21 school year begins.

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