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MAPLEWOOD, MN-Mounds Park Academy recently started construction on a $16-million, 246,000-sf expansion, giving the school a new sports facility, two-story classroom wing and room for pre-kindergarten activities.

The City of Maplewood has agreed to provide up to $14 million in tax-exempt revenue financing to help finance the project. Fabcon, a precast provider, is the process of erecting the walls to the athletic facility for the project that was designed with the help of Pope Associates of St. Paul.

Over all, the 23-year-old school has an enrollment of 700 students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. Mounds Park, which opened in the Hill High School, now has increased its enrollment by a factor of seven. The additional space will give the K-12 school more room for current programs and allow the school to offer pre-kindergarten classes.

“In addition to providing additional science, art and drama facilities, the campus master plan will also allow us to create that distinct ‘high school’ environment,” says Roberta Seum, director of Mounds Park Academy’s Upper School.

Three years ago, a decision was made to expand the Upper School student body from 240 to 300 students, and that presented challenge for space, she says. The expansion is “a necessity,” she says.

A new parking lot and additional green space were added to the grounds last summer. The project, which also includes an outdoor amphitheater, more office space, study areas, science labs and two more parking lots, will be finished by next summer.

Currently, the space used for drama also serves as a gymnasium and a choir hall. The new 54,0000-sf sports center will provide gym classes and athletic teams with better facilities, including four basketball courts, a running track, fitness center, two year-round batting cages, locker rooms and a concession area in the lobby.

Mounds Park hopes to embark on a third phase of remodeling, if its fund-raising efforts are successful. It would include renovations to the cafeteria, kitchen, lower- and middle-school classrooms and restrooms. A new theater and two-story library likely would be included as well.

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