952-442-0670 dbreyer@isd110.org
Waconia High School - A History

(Compiled from excerpts from Waconia Patriot, "Building for the Future - A Section Devoted to the New Waconia High School, September 1, 1994")
****1918**** A headline in a 1918 issue of The Waconia Patriot read, “The Pride of Waconia . . . Our Public School.”

According to newspaper accounts, in February of 1918, the residents of the district voted on whether to build a new school during a special election. The following is that newspaper article:

“District Votes for New Building” “The special school election held here last Monday night resulted in determining that the progressive people of this school district want a new public school building by casting their ballot in the affirmative. 205 votes were for the new building while 148 voted against the building of the school.

“We sincerely hope that the matter is now settled and that the school board gets down to brass tacks and hereafter holds more harmonious meetings.”

Another news article detailed how inadequate the prior school building had become. In fact, the major reason the district needed a new building in 1918 was the need for more space.

In 1918, the decision to build the school was a major one because World War I was still underway and the outlook for the nation was uncertain.

Still, the residents of the district were determined to maintain a positive outlook and went ahead with the construction. After several meetings, the board selected Kirby T. Snyder of Minneapolis as the architect. Snyder was a player in at least 60 new school construction projects throughout the state at that time, including buildings in Norwood-Young America, Watertown and Mayer.

The design of District 110’s school facility built in 1918 building is similar to many old school buildings that are still in existence today. A common architectural design of the time was used for the Waconia school. The building was 80 feet wide and 60 feet deep. It had four classrooms on the main floor (each 23 feet by 30 feet). There was also a library and superintendent’s office on the main floor.

On the second floor there was one large classroom, a physics and chemistry laboratory, and a room called the “High School” room, seating 72 students.

In 1918, it cost less than $40,000 to build the old portion of what is now Bayview Elementary School.

Of that amount, $28,023 was paid to the general contractor, another $575 went to the electrical contractor and the final $8,027 was for plumbing and heating.

****1936, 1950, 1968, Additions**** This three story structure is located at 24 South Walnut Street in Waconia and is nearly engulfed by the 1936 auditorium addition, the 1950 additions, and the 1968 addition.

The building has successfully met the district’s K-12 educational needs those past 76 years. As a community, we “tip our hats” to the building and appreciate the service it has provided. The building truly deserves a high grade for its performance over the years.

The opening of the new high school in 1994 marked the first year since its construction that the 1918 building did not house district students during the school year. The treasured memories of learning, events, friendships, and relationships that occurred with the building’s walls are many. This building continues to be used to facilitate our growing community education programming needs.

****1988 – 1994, A New Era Begins**** It was the beginning of a new journey for the school and the communities it serves.

The issues surrounding school building projects are generally the same, no matter what community you’re in and no matter what the era.

In most cases, the reason a district builds a new school is to replace an older one that is no longer functional and cannot meet the demands of a changed student population.

Prior to the 1994 project, it had been 25 years since Waconia Schools, District 110 had undergone a building project. The economy was in the midst what many called a depression, and the decision to go ahead with a building project would take a healthy sum out of everybody’s pocketbook. Yet residents of the three communities of Waconia, New Germany, and St. Bonifacius decided the time was right.

This latest project, which was a $14 million high school for grades 9-12, had its roots in 1988 when a task force recommended the construction of a new high school to meet a growing student population. After three referendum votes, residents of the district narrowly gave their approval to the project in 1991.

The architectural firm on the project was Eos Architecture of Excelsior. The construction manager was Adolfson and Peterson, Inc. of Minneapolis. Work started almost immediately, but a wet 1993 caused some delays in the project. Miraculously, much time was made up in 1994 and, with the exception of some areas not fully completed, the building opened on time as promised by the school and construction managers.

The building itself is 162,000 square feet in size. In all, the new school site has 63 acres. It sits directly south of Brook Peterson Park, named after a past principal of District 110.

Some of the features of the new building are:
  • More than 20 classrooms lining the southern and western walls of the school. Skylights, recessed ceilings and interesting angles create a comfortable environment for learning.

  • A state of the art media center. The media center not only is a source for library materials, but also has computer labs for students to access.

  • A video production area is located next to the media center.

  • A music and choral area boasting soundproof rooms, acoustic ceilings, and large practice areas.

  • An auditorium with seating for 425.

  • A gymnasium with three full basketball courts, including 10 baskets and seating for nearly 2,000 spectators.

  • A commons area which boasts skylights and a vast open space.
  • ****Today**** September, 1994 began a new educational era for our district. Graduates continue to exit from the new high school building located at 1400 Community Drive in Waconia. The school, from the initial stages, was designed and constructed with community and staff involvement, as well as input from other educational resources.

    Strong efforts were taken to build a quality facility that enhances the educational environment for today’s learners and the learners of the next several decades. The school’s use is not intended for only students in grades 9-12. The school is committed to providing educational learning opportunities to students of all ages. This new building is for everyone!

    Blending flexible classroom and learning space with quality construction has been the foundation of the new school’s design. It will also be able to respond and meet the educational needs of the 21st Century. The new high school serves Waconia as successfully as the old building had for 76 years.

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