Schools notebook // New headquarters contract

Board approves new headquarters contracts

The School Board approved contracts for design and construction of a new Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters building worth about $36.8 million Oct. 12.

The new Education Service Center to be constructed on district property at 1250 W. Broadway Ave. will replace the current district headquarters building at 807 Broadway Ave. NE, an aging and dilapidated former light bulb factory. The Board previously considered staying put, among other options, but Chief of Policy and Operations Steve Liss said the expense of maintaining the current building, including moving ahead on long-deferred maintenance projects, was greater than building a new headquarters.

“The status quo is not free,” Liss told the School Board prior to the vote. “The status quo is our most expensive option.”

The district reported building and moving into a new headquarters was expected to save about $20 million over the next 30 years.

A presentation to the board predicted annual operating costs for the new building would amount to only about one-third of the nearly $3 million a year the district spends on its current headquarters. That building, known to many as “807,” has notoriously inefficient heating and cooling systems.

The board in April chose a joint proposal from Mortenson Development Inc. and Legacy Management and Development Corporation to raze the former Broadway High School and build a new headquarters on the same sight. The contract approved in October was for $35.6 million.

The district also will pay nearly $1.3 million to UrbanWorks Architecture for design of the building.

Liss said the district intended to build the new headquarters to LEED Silver standards. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a nationally recognized green building certification system.

He said the district also had committed to working with women- and minority-owned businesses on the project and predicted the new building would contribute to the revitalization of its North Minneapolis neighborhood.

“We feel like it will be a catalyst to the development of West Broadway (Avenue),” Liss said.


Washburn teacher an ‘innovative economic educator’

TANGLETOWN — Washburn High School teacher Jenevieve Rannow was a runner-up in the 3M Economic Educator Awards Program in October.

Rannow, a 9th grade honors geography teacher, took second place in the 2010 Innovative Economic Educator Awards secondary schools division. The 30-year-old awards program recognizes K-12 teachers who take novel approaches to teaching economics.

The teachers’ lessons are also judged on their inclusion basic economic concepts, how well they might be replicated by other teachers and the ability to assess student learning.


Parents take the stage at Southwest

LINDEN HILLS — Parents of Southwest High School students plan to take the stage 7 p.m. Nov. 14 during the second annual Stage Parents fundraiser for the school’s theater program.

“We have an incredibly busy, thriving, but under-funded theater program at Southwest,” said Faith Adams, a parent who was co-chairing the event.

The parent performers this year include Burt Hara on clarinet, jazz singer Rhonda Laurie, storyteller Tom Hegg and singers Ann Reed and Julie Madden, among others. Funds raised will go toward ongoing costs of the theater program, including props, costumes and adult supervision of after-school rehearsals, Adams said.

“It sure beats a bake sale,” she added.

The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are sold on the Southwest High School website,


Southwest students in Dakota jazz combo

LINDEN HILLS — Two Southwest High School seniors were among eight teen musicians selected for the Dakota Combo, a jazz group made up of top local high school musicians, The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education and the MacPhail Center for Music announced in October.

Saxophonist Danny Hupp and bass player Caitlin Kelliher will play on stage at the Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall, in December. Among the students joining them will be South High School junior Emerson Hunton, a percussionist.