Looking ahead to new era of education for Chisholm schools

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Chisholm Public Schools is pleased to share its exciting and ambitious new vision for education in Minnesota, from early education and pre-k through high school graduation.

After a $32 million bond referendum passed in fall 2022, Chisholm Public Schools has been working on their approved facility construction plan and modernizing curriculum.

“It’s a complete K12 reset for students and educators in Chisholm,” explained Adrian Norman,
Chisholm Schools Superintendent. “We’re ecstatic to have secured bond funding to complete much-needed renovations and expansions to our physical space and strengthen our transportation fleet. We’re also hard at work updating our curriculum, not just to align with state standards, but elevate our entire platform. It’s a very exciting time to be in Chisholm.”

District representatives, InGensa and Architectural Resources, Inc. (ARI) are currently collaborating to work through the design phase, which is expected to take 6-9 months. Schematic designs are underway to review and finalize space for the new E-6 elementary school.

The new facility is on track to open for occupancy in fall 2025, with construction bidding opening in October 2023 and construction work starting during spring 2024.

Faced with significant maintenance challenges on both the Vaughan Steffensrud School and Chisholm Elementary, Chisholm Public Schools is moving forward to use the $32 million strategically, with plans well underway to build a new E-6 elementary school, competition gym and office space, all of which will be connected to Chisholm High School, making the school a true E-12 campus.

Funding will also be used to permanently close the existing elementary school facilities, while
salvaging newer windows to be reused in the new design. Much-needed long-term maintenance on the 100+ year old high school building will also be completed, including updated plumbing, boiler and HVAC systems, new flooring and window installation, updated athletics spaces and adding a dedicated kitchen and cafeteria.

“We’re not operating in a vacuum in Chisholm. All staff will continue to have opportunities to share their voice and ideas for our new spaces, and we’re listening,” continued Norman. “Our new elementary school will set the foundation for educational growth and innovation, and that new mindset will carry over into our updated high school. Having all students under one roof for the duration of their public school careers will support continuity, stability, and academic success.”

An important part of the design phase is garnering ideas and inspiration. The project team is scheduled to tour several new facilities across the Iron Range, including an early childhood center in Hibbing, East Elementary and a new bus barn in Grand Rapids, and Rock Ridge Elementary in Eveleth.

“We’re very excited to explore these new facilities in neighboring communities and learn from each projects’ successes and challenges,” Norman said.

K12 education is undergoing dramatic change. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated what was already underway. Rural school districts like Chisholm faced unimaginable challenges to keep students safe without sacrificing education. Technology adoption was critical, and Chisholm Public Schools has adapted beautifully.

“The right pieces of the technology puzzle are fitting into place in Chisholm,” Norman explained. “We’ve added a smart studio and smart lab, created robotics and esports opportunities, and incorporated several technology courses for all students. Chisholm isn’t just meeting state standards for technology, we’re exceeding them, and our new facilities will support a continued evolution for our students.”