When the new school year begins Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Crosslake Community School, it will do so in a brand new, $7.3 million facility located in the heart of Crosslake.
Still on the main thoroughfare - County Road 66 - the 35,000-square-foot, two-story building is on the property where the city's Catholic church formerly stood. It replaces the school campus in northern Crosslake, which saw the school's main and administrative offices, along with the cafeteria, in a separate building from the classrooms and gymnasium.
Now, every student and staff member will be under a single roof.
"It's a new adventure, and something we have been looking into for a few years," Director Todd Lyscio said. "I tend to pinch myself thinking about how we got from two years ago to today ... It is stressful. Any time you make change - a big change - you experience some stress. This would fall under the category of a positive stressful situation, but stressful nonetheless. A lot of the teachers are working really hard to get their rooms set up now."
When construction began, school officials anticipated moving into the new school in January 2019. That date was eventually moved up to October 2018 before officials learned they could be ready in time for the beginning of the school year.
The school's 161 K-8 students will walk into a new facility on the first day of school, entering from the main doors into a commons area featuring an abundance of natural light. Other school features on the ground floor include the main offices, a music room that expands into a stage connected to a newly constructed gymnasium, a cafeteria and a solarium featuring hydroponic labs.
The majority of classrooms and lockers are located on the school's upper level, which also features plenty of open space and natural light.
The 80 students partaking in the school's online high school program have the option of working from the facility as well, and can do so in an open area upstairs in tall, two-person tables or in personal, privacy-focused seats. Online school staff members have their offices in the same area.
The new school year begins Tuesday, Sept. 4, for the school's 240 students, both in-house, online and in pre-kindergarten programs.
"There are many, many people to thank," Lyscio said. "There is a really neat story to this whole process and how this all came about."
The nonprofit LAKE Foundation continues to raise money for the new school building.