Kraus-Anderson to build Ellsworth Elementary School
Construction company worked closely with district to pass successful referendum
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (October 2016) – Kraus-Anderson Construction Company (KA), one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest commercial general contractors and construction managers, has been selected to build a 4K-5th grade elementary school in Ellsworth, Wis., one of the state’s largest school districts, serving 1,700 students. The $25 million referendum project will replace the old school and will bring together students currently housed in three pre-5K schools – Hillcrest, Prairie View and Lindgren – which are old, outdated and in urgent need of repair.
KA has been working with the district since 2013, providing cost information on various construction options, participating in public meetings, and helping to communicate options and approaches to the community.
“Kraus-Anderson has provided valuable information to our community about life cycles of buildings to help the public better understand the ideas of remodeling costs versus building new,” said Barry Cain, district superintendent. “They were instrumental in leading the dialog necessary to communicate facts and data to the public about investing in our infrastructure so we are poised for growth for years to come.”
Paul Bauer, CEO and general manager of the Ellsworth cooperative creamery and chair of the Vote Yes committee for the Ellsworth Community School, said Ellsworth was primarily a rural, agriculture area, but now is changing to a more urban, commuter community with about 60 percent of its workforce commuting outside the Ellsworth area for jobs.
“Kraus-Anderson put together a more business-like approach on how we were going to make the referendum successful, while providing sound estimates for construction that allowed us to come up with a plan that better fit the community,” said Bauer. “The KA team was heavily involved in our community meetings, demonstrating with data how property values increase following the passage of a referendum because people put down their roots and invest in housing which further lowers property taxes and fuels that pump for further growth.”
Designed by Ayres Associates, the two-story, 108,000-square-foot school will feature modern, safe and secure buildings that will serve 700 students and significantly upgrade the educationally appropriate spaces to 135 square foot per student.
The new elementary school features a full-size competitive gymnasium that can also be used by the senior high school and middle school. The building also will house the district office.
The project will include a large cafeteria, conference rooms, classrooms and numerous common learning spaces and grade-level “neighborhood spaces.” The collaborative learning environment can be used by teachers and students for a variety of activities with flexible furniture, technology and multi-use storage. Students will be able to flow in and out of classrooms for large group activities as well as individualized learning.
“The key is that we’re able to develop new common learning spaces and various open spaces to create efficient small learning communities within the large facility,” said Cain.
The new school also will greatly reduce the time buses spend transporting students. Buses remarkably drive 2,200 miles per day to pick up students in two shifts – one for the three current elementary schools and one for the middle school, high school and St. Francis students. The proposed change will result in one pick-up for 4YK-12 students. By using a one-start, one-stop route, the district will eliminate 850 miles a day of bus time.
“The Ellsworth Community School District offers wonderful opportunities for our students to gain a great education and enjoyable experience,” said Cain. “We have a supportive community that values education, with our schools being a central place to come together. Our staff is dedicated to educating our students and being an integral part of our community’s growth.”
The school will be located directly east of the senior high school and south of the current Day Hillcrest school, creating a campus. Construction will begin in early September and is expected to be completed in early 2018.
KA continues to lead the field of regional education construction projects and is currently ranked 6th in the nation in the construction of K-12 facilities by Building Design and Construction magazine. The company also remains the top construction manager of education facilities in the region, having completed K-12 projects totaling over $1 billion in the past five years. In addition, KA practices Open Book Transparency, maximizing opportunities for local subcontractor participation.
Established in 1897, Kraus-Anderson® Construction Company (www.krausanderson.com) is one of the nation’s premier commercial general contractors and construction managers. Kraus-Anderson, an EOE AA M/F/Vet/Disability employer, is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. and has regional offices in Madison, Wis., Bismarck, N.D., and Duluth, Bemidji and Rochester Minn.