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Middle schools will have three large spaces by 2017-18

Anticipated renovations at Lake and Cottage Grove middle schools are expected to be similar to each other.

"It started off as one project and it's evolved into this," said Elise Block, principal at Cottage Grove Middle School.

The work is projected to start in spring 2017 and be ready in time for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Expanded media centers, with the inclusion of collaborative learning spaces, are a major change. Three staff rooms will be turned into small group rooms for students. Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) rooms will be converted for use by special education teachers. Cafeterias will be expanded.

One difference: Cottage Grove Middle School will have its fitness center turned into a room for music, band and orchestra.

Lake Middle School does not have a fitness center, so the district is constructing a new music room.

The expanded music rooms will offer more seating for performances.

Block said that the lack of large open spaces have created a limitation. When the project is complete, both schools will have three large spaces for collaborative learning.

"We still need a bigger parking lot, or at least a canopy sidewalk," Block joked.