The first day of school for most students in Waconia School District 110 is Monday, Aug. 26. District kindergarteners begin the 2019-2020 school year two days later.
As local students get assigned their first school projects, a few other school projects are wrapping up – only these projects are construction related not academic.
The first is a new $1.3 million outdoor sports complex between the high school and middle school that includes 12 tennis courts, with some that can be cross-purposed as outdoor basketball courts, plus an outdoor hockey rink and free-skate rink.
The courts should be ready for use the first week in September, according to school district officials. Courts will be used for tennis instruction this fall, including a camp with new varsity boys coach Jeff Bessire. The school district will offer team tennis next spring 2020 for boys and the fall of 2020 for girls.
The facility also includes space for a new outdoor ice rink. The Waconia Hockey Association will erect boards, glass and benches that it has purchased and expects to use the outdoor hockey rink this first time this winter.
The second project wrapping up is at Southview Elementary where the parking lot is being expanded and resurfaced. That project is intended to provide additional parking, as well as improve traffic flow for parents and buses dropping off and picking up kids at school.
Speaking of buses, work will continue into late fall on a new Koch bus garage that is under construction just south of the high school.
After 80 years at its current location on South Birch Street, Koch Bus Service is building a new 49,000- square-foot garage, office and shop space on Orchard Road at 94th Street just southwest of the high school campus. The facility will house Koch’s 72 buses and vans that serve the Waconia area, and be the maintenance headquarters for both its Waconia and Watertown operations. Koch also provides bus service to Shakopee schools and has a total of 135 vehicles in its fleet.
“Waconia is growing so fast and we are absolutely crammed for space so this is the right time to move our operations,” said Koch Bus Service owner and driver Brian Koch.
Wet weather has hindered construction, but Koch’s new facility should be ready before the end of the year, he said.
Once the new building is in place, the transition from its old garages should occur quickly – maybe in just a day, Koch notes.
The company is still working on a bus staging plan for the new facility, he said, “but it’s so crowded where we are that it can’t be any more difficult to park and move buses than it is now.”
Meanwhile, the bus company held an in-service session for drivers for the new school year just over a week ago.
“Our drivers have been studying route maps and seem to be excited to get back at it,” Koch said.
Maybe parents are too.
“In our conversations with parents we’ve had a few ask if we could take their kids now,” he joked.