Construction is officially set to start on the new Crosslake Community School building at the end of October. The LAKE Foundation - the group working to fund the project - hopes to get students into the classrooms after the Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA) break in October 2018.

A ceremonial groundbreaking event took place Saturday, Aug. 19, at the building's site, which is on the corner of Swann Drive and County Road 66.

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The project's total cost is $8.8 million. The LAKE Foundation has raised about $1.7 million so far, and the state lease aid program will give the school $6 million. That leaves about $1.1 million that the group hopes to raise by the end of October.

Final building designs - which have changed as the project has developed - include a fish bowl, which will be a glass room that can be closed off from the rest of the school to be used as community space. LAKE Foundation member Leah Heggerston emphasized, though, that the community space will not aim to replace the Crosslake Community Center, but to complement it instead.

Happy Dancing Turtle of Pine River is partnering with the school and helping to add as many environmentally friendly and educational features as possible. Part of Crosslake Community School's mission, after all, is to teach students to be environmentally aware.

A virtual tour of the new school is available at buildtheschool.org. The website also contains information about donating to the cause. LAKE Acres are still available for purchase, where donors can sponsor acres on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes for $200 per acre. The LAKE Foundation plans to keep this fundraiser going in the future but is also looking to introduce new fundraising events or ideas each year.

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