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Crosslake: Work begins at new school site: Foundation within $1 million of fundraising goal

Those travelling on County Road 66 through Crosslake may have noticed activity at the former Catholic church property on the corner of 66 and Swann Drive.

Work is progressing on the new Crosslake Community School facility, which will stand on the property.

The fire department conducted a controlled burn at the site Wednesday, Sept. 27, and burned a former rectory to make room for the school. In early October, crews cleared trees and pulled up tar from the former parking lot. They are looking to get the building footings in this fall before the ground freezes, said LAKE Foundation member Mike Stone.

The LAKE (Lakes Area Kids Enrichment) Foundation - the nonprofit group working to build the school - is striving to complete the building by January 2019 so students can move in after winter break of the 2018-19 school year. A construction schedule is not yet final.

Funding

The cost of the new school is about $8.8 million. Through tireless fundraising efforts, the LAKE Foundation is within $1 million of the target amount.

"We're making headway; we're not there yet," Stone said. "We feel comfortable the way the donations are coming in to continue on with the construction, but we still need to raise more money. So hopefully people that were on the fence of realizing whether this project was going to come to fruition or not will see that it's real and that we are going to be building, so now's the time when they can jump in and make a contribution."

The group will close its 90-day capital campaign at the end of October. About 20 community members came together with the LAKE Foundation for the last 90 days to make contacts in the area and round up donations. As of the second week in October, Stone said the capital campaign had brought in about $200,000.

"We've been kind of overwhelmed with the generosity of the community," Stone said.

In March, the group began its Lake Acres fundraisers, where community members can sponsor portions of the Whitefish Chain of Lakes for $200 an acre. Lake Acres are still available and can be purchased at buildtheschool.org. After the fundraiser wraps up, a mural of the Whitefish Chain with the names of Lake Acre owners will be put up in the school.

The LAKE Foundation will kick off a new fundraiser in February, but the details are not finalized.

The school also will host its annual Evening for Education in June at Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant.

"We're just excited that everything's coming together and that the community has really rallied around the project," Stone said. "It's not just a school; it's a space for the community as well, and I think people are seeing that, and they're seeing the benefit that the future holds for the school."

Even after the school is built and paid off, Stone believes the LAKE Foundation can continue to make a difference in the Crosslake community.

"One of the exciting things about our foundation is once we get the debt paid off, we're going to continue to lease the building to the school, so we're going to put that lease money to work in the community. We're going to make sure we're taking care of our students, but once we've met everything the school needs, we're going to open it up and support families," Stone said. "I guess the sky's the limit for what we can do as a nonprofit in the community."

Anyone interested in donating to the school project can email info@buildtheschool.org or call Stone at 218-820-0789.

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