With summer approaching, school district is building

Projects planned at Armatage and Washburn

A view of the entrance to Armatage Montessori School, to which the Minneapolis school district will add a new administration space, cafeteria and primary entrance. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Two Southwest Minneapolis schools are scheduled for construction over the summer break.

Minneapolis Public Schools is proposing to build a one-story, 7,460-square-foot addition to Armatage Montessori School. The addition would fill in a courtyard on the north side of the school along 56th Street West, according to a Community Planning and Economic Development staff report. It would add new administration space, cafeteria and primary entrance to the building.

The project would “right size” the facility to meet existing enrollment needs, according to documents submitted by Minneapolis-based Lawal Scott Erickson Architects. The firm said it doesn’t anticipate an increase in student enrollment or staff because of the project.

MPS is budgeting $9.16 million for the project, which also will include air conditioning. It anticipates that construction will start on June 15 and wrap up on Sept. 15, 2018.

The city would require all site improvements to be completed by June 1, 2019.

The project comes about two years after MPS planning and Minneapolis- based Lawal Scott Erickson Architects engaged in a “visioning process” with the Armatage community. LSE used that process to develop a series of building goals, which included creating a multi-use cafeteria and a new kitchen.

Armatage is the only elementary school in south Minneapolis offering a free Montessori education, according to an application submitted by LSE.

The Montessori method is an educational approach based around the idea that children are adept at teaching themselves. It’s based on the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, who opened a school in 1907 in Rome based around this approach.

The method features child-directed learning, one-on-one interaction with teachers who serve as facilitators and mentors and an emphasis on the whole child, according to the school’s website.

Students work at their own pace and are taught to take responsibility for the culture of their classes.

Armatage is a K-5 school with about 600 students, according to the district’s most recent count. It also has an early-childhood special education program with about two-dozen students.

Washburn projects underway

Construction is underway to renovate the athletic wing at Washburn High School.

The estimated $4 million project will include a renovation of the school’s weight room, locker rooms, gymnasium partition and wrestling room. The district will also replace lighting throughout the whole building and updating the fire alarm system.


The district received a $150,000 grant from a Hennepin County’s youth sports program for the project, which began in April and will wrap up before the start of next school year.

It’s one of three the district will be undertaking at the school in the next couple years. The district will be updating four classrooms at Washburn this summer that have been used by the developmental cognitive disabilities program, which will be moving to Southwest High School.

Three of those four classrooms will be for science and the fourth will be a general classroom.

The district is also planning to construct five new science classrooms in the school, with the goal of having those ready at the start of the 2018 school year. It will also be renovating one or two existing science classrooms and adding seven all-gender, single-user restrooms.