This fall, the Maple River School District will open its doors of the newly constructed PreK-12 school in Mapleton, Minnesota. Until now, the District’s three schools have been serving the four communities of Amboy, Mapleton, Good Thunder, and Minnesota Lake. The aging schools lacked modern student learning spaces and needed safety, security, and accessibility improvements. From operating costs to inadequate resources, it was clear that the long-term sustainability of the facilities was in jeopardy. The District needed a solution to the growing problems it was facing for their students, faculty, and the community that it serves, as well as an outlined process to ensure smooth transition into construction and move-in.

Understanding the long-term goals for the district and the community, as well as having several alumni and support of the community on the project team, ISG was passionate to ensure a smooth project that everyone involved was proud of.

“As an alumnus of Maple River Schools, I understood first-hand the necessity and benefit a new school would bring to this community. I was excited to have the opportunity to work on this project and knew the entire ISG project team would be dedicated to ensure a successful project.”—Brian Gjerde, Vice President

Taking a listen-first approach, ISG and the District built touch points with community members so that all voices were heard throughout the journey. The goal was to learn the wants and needs of the community, integrate feedback into designs, and keep people informed on project plans, timelines, and construction.

Community-Driven, Student-Focused

The new school integrates intricate design features that create a sense of place and showcases community pride, in addition to creating a space that meets curriculum needs.

School + Community Pride

As you walk towards the entrance of the school, you will be greeted by a bronze eagle perched on a nest with branches engraved to pay homage to each town within the District. This nine-foot-tall statue and bench was created by Nick Legeros, a Minnesota sculptor who created Goldy Gopher at the University of Minnesota campus and the bust of Sid Hartman at Target Center. This is one of the many features of the school that showcases Eagle pride. The large, open-concept commons area is strewn with blue and green wood accents, an eagle applique in-laid on the terrazzo floor, and a word wall expressing what it means to be an Eagle.

Recreation Spaces

The auditorium features advanced technology and 500 seats that will support school-wide assemblies and performing arts events. There are three gyms–an elementary, middle school, and a varsity gym. The varsity gym features a balcony, dubbed the Eagle’s Nest, that will support extra spectators during events. Natural light will shine through large windows, one will even sport a frosted eagle decal that can be backlit and seen from the exterior.

Academic Spaces

The school features a common area at the center, with the middle and high school academic wing on the south end, and the elementary wing towards the north to create a sense of separation between the different age groups. The classrooms of the wings were designed with student wellbeing, connectivity, and flexibility in mind. In addition to academic space improvements, the media center will provide a comfortable, collaborative environment to serve students’ needs during and after school hours.

Collaboration for Success

In addition to ISG, the District brought in numerous additional partners, including Kraus-Anderson and Wells Concrete, to collaborate and bring the most value to the community and the students it serves.

The District and Kraus-Anderson selected Wells Concrete, the pre-cast supplier, to provide pre-cast panels for the school’s structure due to the aggressive construction schedule and to provide fire protection and an open-concept design throughout the school. Much like ISG, Wells Concrete had a deep connection to this project through its local ties to the community and many team members being Maple River District alumni. Kraus-Anderson, a Minnesota based firm that excels in managing teams and bringing projects to life, was also invested from the start. Even through COVID-19 and supply shortages that are affecting the construction industry, Kraus-Anderson has continued, and is continuing, to coordinate meetings effectively and manage construction to keep the project on schedule. There is still progress to be made, however, construction is nearing its end.

Come fall of 2022, the Maple River School will welcome an excited community of students, staff, and faculty, now better positioned for academic success. Keeping the community at the forefront of the project efforts and with collaboration between local and dedicated teams, Maple River School will be a cornerstone of community achievements for years to come.

Meet Bob Mickelson

With over 40 years of experience leading project management and construction administration for a wide variety of industry partners, Bob has a proven record of providing dependable and practical solutions...