Building improvements continue at Washburn

Minneapolis Public Schools has wrapped up most of its construction at Washburn High School, though one final project is slightly behind schedule.

The district was originally aiming to finish the final project, which will include five new science classrooms and six single-gender bathrooms, by August 2018. However, it has encountered a delay with the city’s zoning-review process that will affect the construction schedule, according to Planning and Design Manager Laurie McGinley.

McGinley stressed that the district is committed to moving forward with the additions. It won’t be able to get the general contractor on board as early as expected, however, which could delay the project-completion date.

The five new science classrooms will go over the school’s band and choir wing.

The project will be the last of several in the past few years at Washburn, which has seen a surge in enrollment over the past seven years. The district added six classrooms at Washburn in summer 2015 and created three more in summer 2016.

It also converted six special education classrooms into general-education classrooms this past summer, as the school’s developmental and cognitive disabilities program moved to Southwest High School.

Other building improvements this past summer included renovations of the locker rooms and weight room and the creation of a new attendance office near the front entrance. The district also replaced of every single light bulb at the school.

Already, the summer’s improvements appear to be having positive effects. No longer are certain music classes holding sessions in the hallways. And all science rooms have running water, something several of which were previously without.

The district budgeted about $10.5 million for the final project at Washburn and about $5.7 million for the work completed the past two summers. It received $150,000 from a Hennepin County youth-sports-grant program to remodel the fitness center and install new equipment.