When Lakes International Language Academy opened in 2004, we envisioned creating a public school that brought together the best practices in second-language acquisition and the International Baccalaureate curriculum to help prepare our students to become critical thinkers and global citizens. It was a big goal.
Big goals require commitment, support, and hard work. For LILA, our parents and staff have been an extraordinary force in realizing the school’s vision. We’ve been fortunate to build strong relationships with community organizations, too. The efforts show in our students’ achievements and our sustained growth. We began with 177 students in 2004 and now count more than 1,200 students in PreK-grade 12.
Our success has led to new goals. Not surprisingly, they’re big. We’re remodeling and expanding our Annex building into a 20,000 square foot kindergarten center at our main campus on 11th Avenue Southeast, which will house our Kinder Prep Preschool and kindergarten classes with Spanish and Chinese immersion programs. Our expansion plans call for seven new classrooms with child-sized bathrooms, a small gymnasium, and a secure playground just for the younger students.
But that’s not all. Our tremendous growth has spurred a 53,000 square foot addition at our Headwaters Campus for grades six through 12. This huge project on Fenway Avenue North features 12 additional classrooms, including classrooms specifically for science and art, a music suite, a media center, a full-size gymnasium with lockers, and a performing arts center. Amenities like an outdoor classroom and student commons area, as well as outdoor lunch options, are part of our plans, too.
Using facility bond funding (LILA does not receive the levy funding that Forest Lake Area Schools receives), we’re committed to a long-term presence here that will continue to support an educational environment that fosters academic progress, international-mindedness, and strong character development. Expanding and enhancing our school facilities will help us to accomplish that.
In the next month, we’ll launch a capital campaign called, “Be Bold! Build A Better LILA.” We’re excited to offer naming opportunities to major donors as well as a variety of other ways for people to give boldly. As we’ve done in the past, we’re also submitting for grants and other funding sources. We’re excited to continue teaching children to “think for themselves, think about others, and think beyond today.” These are our school’s action statements. We believe our construction projects also reflect those ideas; we’re building for our LILA students, for our community, and for the future.
We’re grateful for all of you who have contributed already to our school’s success. Together, we’re making a big idea even better.
Cam Hedlund is the executive director of Lakes International Language Academy.