Education Village to enter Phase Two

Education Village to enter Phase Two

Lauren Gennerman, Features Reporter

Winona State University hosted a community meeting regarding the Education Village project on Monday, Sept. 18 in the Great Hall at Watkins Manor.

According to Winona State, the Education Village is “a state-of-the-art facility that will transform teacher preparation and integrate the university into the community and its schools.”

State legislature awarded Winona State $5.8 million for the first phase of the project in 2014, developing a plan for the Education Village.

The grant money was also used to install a new roof and windows in Wabasha Hall, new windows in the Cathedral School and some renovations in the Wabasha Recreation Center.

The Annex has already been demolished as part of the project, as well as the old section of Wabasha Recreation. Some homes in the area were also bought and taken down to make space for parking and landscape. These steps, which were part of phase one, are expected to be completed this fall.

Though there were some delays on the project due to Minnesota State Legislature not approving funds until the 2017 session, the plans can now continue for the Village in phase two.

The goal is to start construction on phase two in February or March depending on the bidding for funding, and is expected to last 12-14 months with completion of the project in the spring of 2019.

“We would use the summer to move into the facility, and hopefully offer classes in the fall of 2019,” Scott Ellinghuysen, vice president for finance and administration, said.

Some features of the new facilities include a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classroom, a room full of materials for children to explore with and areas to train mental health and school counselors. A childcare center is on the site and is remaining there.

Students will get to observe and interact with the children to learn about early-childhood care and development.

On the second floor of Wabasha Hall, there are plans for a coffee shop with grab-n-go food options, however plans are still being made with Chartwells food service to accommodate that.

Administrators are planning on Lafayette Street remaining open during and after construction, though Ellinghuysen commented that there’s a possibility of a temporary closing if there is an unforeseen construction-related need.

Some residents voiced concerns for safety around the area due to student traffic and intoxication, especially because there was a break-in and theft in the area in the past few years. They were assured that, on top of extra street lights being installed, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras would be on the buildings like the rest of the campus.

Gildemeister Hall currently serves as the main education building, but the building is not large enough to accommodate the needs of the programs within it. When Education Village is completed, the computer-science programs will move to Gildemeister from Watkins.

Tarrell Portman, dean of the college of education, emphasized how this project is community-based.

“You’ll all be able to see it,” she said, talking to the residents of Watkins Manor. “This is for the community, and we want people of all ages to come, and be a part of this development.”