The Elk River Area School District broke ground on Oct. 5 for a new middle school in Otsego.

Construction on Prairie View Middle School started in late September. The new facility, which will be situated next to the current K-8 Prairie View Elementary and Middle School, is scheduled for completion for the 2022-2023 school year.

The project will make is so the current Prairie View Elementary and Middle School can focus on meeting the needs of a growing elementary school population in Otsego and its neighboring communities.

“We continue to grow and we continue to be vibrant,” Superintendent Dr. Dan Bittman said at Monday’s event. “We are so thankful to have the partnerships we have. We could not do it without you. This is only the beginning.”

Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp also spoke at the groundbreaking, commenting first on the beautiful fall weather.

“It was freezing and there was sleet in the air,” Stockamp said the groundbreaking for the K-8 school. “I’m always excited to attend these events. This (new school) means change, and it means growth for the community and the school district.

“We know that the middle school will continue to help foster a community identity that Otsego is striving to build.”

There are projects going on throughout the Elk River Area School District. District 728 hired Stahl Construction to manage a program of projects that will add to and evolve its facilities over the next several years.

As part of the program, Stahl will build the new Prairie View Middle School, an addition at Zimmerman High School, and an addition at Rogers High School. Updates will address the indoor physical education and outdoor athletic facilities and building maintenance needs districtwide to ultimately create more flexible learning spaces.

Funding for the construction projects was part of the $113 million bond referendum approved on Nov. 5, 2019, which also provides funds for maintaining class sizes, supporting student mental health, updating curriculum and other classroom materials, and improving career and technical programs.

“Stahl is eager to not only continue construction in Elk River, but to continue building upon the trusted relationship we have developed with the district,” says Lane Schoening, vice president of Stahl. “Over the past several years, our partnership has strengthened due to strong execution, integrity, transparency, and responsiveness across projects of all size, which ultimately continues to drive significant value for the communities within the district by utilizing referendum dollars the best way possible. The new construction, additions, and maintenance updates are improvements that will serve future generations, and we are thrilled to be part of the district’s evolution.”

Bittman said the district appreciates the partnership, and he said their commitment to quality, collaboration, and focus on what is best for our students within ISD 728 is worthy of commendation.

Stahl has worked with ISD 728 since 2014 on a number of projects, including the Prairie View Elementary and Middle School, the addition at Prairie View Elementary and Middle School, the addition at Elk River High School, the addition at Zimmerman Middle/High School, and the early child care facility in Elk River.

The current building program is expected to be complete by the end of 2025.

Mayor Stockamp said 2017 and the introduction of the K-8 Prairie View was a turning point for her community.

“I want to thank the voters for believing in the future of the children in all the cities of ISD 728,” she said. “I appreciate the past and present administration for being our partners and I hope that relationship continues for years to come.”

The mayor concluded offering one of the superintendent’s favorite sayings: “We’re better together.”

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