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Liberty Ridge kindergarteners get their space

School District 833 planned to finalize a contract on an addition at Liberty Ridge Elementary School that will house from 160 to 180 kindergarteners and pre-school children.

The current site is approximately 10,000 square feet and is being leased by the district for $14,000 a month to house kindergarten classes. It will be expanded by 12,500 square feet for a cost of approximately $2 million and built on existing footings, said Mike Vogel, assistant to the superintendent for operations, at a community meeting held at Liberty Ridge last week.

When the new facility opens in the fall, it will have eight kindergarten classrooms and two rooms for a pre-school program in its second year.

It will also have a cafeteria, multi-purpose space that can be used for indoor recess, media center and teacher offices.

Drawings on exhibit at the meeting also show a kitchen that was added to the original plans.

Some doors and windows will be moved on the building that will have a separate entrance on the south side for parents dropping off and picking up preschool children.

The district requires that teachers or aides escort preschoolers directly to caregivers.

A playground area is also being added.

Children will be bused to the main school site across Settler's Ridge Parkway and taken to Site II by shuttle buses, Vogel said. Mid-day buses will go directly to Site II.

Parents of children attending Kid's Club, a before- and after- school program, will drop off children at the main campus and be shuttled to Site II for school and shuttled back to the main campus after school.

The school currently has 905 students and will add about 30 additional students next year.

The area has about 400 vacant lots and the kindergarten addition will be needed for "a considerable number of years," Vogel said.

The facility will be paid for with money from the district's alternative facilities levy that doesn't need voter approval but has been approved by the Minnesota Department of Education, and $1 million left from the 2006 construction referendum that built East Ridge High School.

The site and building plan will be reviewed by the Woodbury Planning Commission on May 7 and is expected to be approved by the City Council on May 9, Vogel said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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