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Designs under way for new Crosslake school building

Virtual aerial view of the plans for the new Crosslake Community School building. Submitted.1 / 2
Submitted photo Crosslake Community School Director Todd Lyscio (left) and LAKE Foundation members Mike Stone and Christine Davis review design plans for the new school building, which will be located at the corner of Highway 66 and Swann Drive.2 / 2

With multiple facilities currently in use, the Crosslake Community School is desperate for some cohesion among its students. That's just what it's about to get.

A new school building, courtesy of work by the nonprofit LAKE Foundation, is in the works. The target price for the building, which the LAKE Foundation will own and lease to the school, is $7 million.

LAKE Foundation member Mike Stone said he hopes construction can start as early as late summer or early fall of this year so the building can be ready for the 2018-19 school year.

The LAKE Foundation, which formed in 2016 for the sole purpose of supporting the school, is working with architects at Widseth Smith Nolting to design the new building, which will be built at the site of the former Catholic church on the corner of Highway 66 and Swann Drive in Crosslake.

"The Widseth Smith Nolting team has done an amazing job designing a building that works functionally as a school and is aesthetically beautiful in the community," said Todd Lyscio, Crosslake Community School director. "Everything before this was just conceptual; now the school is becoming reality. I can't wait to share these plans with my staff."

The 35,000-square-foot, two-story building will not only house the school but will also have multipurpose spaces the community as a whole can use. These include a full high school-sized gymnasium that will be able to hold affairs such as craft fairs and art shows in addition to sporting events, and a theater that can be used for community performances.

"We want this facility to be the hub of our community," Stone said, adding that the location is "very strategic in that it's in the heart of the community."

In an effort to emphasize the school's commitment to environmental education, the group also hopes to include a solarium to house various plants.

Though building designs are nearing completion, there's still a lot of work to be done before construction can start.

Because Crosslake Community School is a charter school, no tax dollars can be used for construction, which means fundraising is an essential part of the operation. That also means resident taxes will not increase because of the project.

Fundraising efforts will kick off the weekend of March 18, during Crosslake's St. Patrick's Day festivities, and design plans for the school will be unveiled for the community to see.

One such effort that will take place incorporates the area's most beloved resource - water. Those looking to donate to the school can sponsor sections of the Whitefish Chain of Lakes for $200 per acre. The LAKE Foundation has created a map that will soon be available to the public and features numbered blocks on the Whitefish Chain. Donors can choose how many acres they want to sponsor, pick the location and give it a name.

Sponsoring a lake section through this project, called LAKE Acres, does not give the donor special privileges though, and markers around a certain area are not allowed.

These donations are tax deductible and, ultimately, serve to benefit the school.

"We want donors to this capital campaign to know they've played an integral part in making this school happen," Stone said. "It's an exciting time, but the ultimate goal is that Crosslake Community Charter School students have more and better opportunities to learn."

While the main purpose of the new building is to benefit students and their education, the amount of funds raised will dictate how much additional community-oriented space can be added.

"In our latest edit we left space to add on community spaces, and a lot of that will depend on our fundraising efforts, so possibly if our fundraising goes really well, we'll be able to add those spaces," Stone said. "We're always looking to the future, and we want to be sensitive to needs of the community and the school."