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Background Information

  • The middle school/preschool concept plan was initiated during the 2021-2022 school year under the direction of Jeremy Olson, previous superintendent.

  • The concept plan includes a new addition to accommodate Preschool and Kindergarten at our existing Highland Elementary School (Grades 1-6) building – addition adds 8 new spaces and an office/admin space.  Remodeling at the 7-12 building will create space for a true middle school (Grades 6-8) structure and a high school (Grades 9-12) all in one building.  Grade 6 will move to the high school/middle school building in the Fall of 2023 where SIX new classrooms have been added, as well as some small group spaces to accommodate the addition of this grade level.

  • Currently, the district’s Preschool and Kindergarten classes are housed at the Washington Elementary School building. 

  • Planning Meetings with Preschool Teachers:  September 15, 2021, October 15, 2021, November 16. 2021, February 10, 2022 and April 2 & April 19 for final design concepts and finishes

  • The district requested from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to use $4,000,000 of ESSER II & ESSER III funding (Federal funds) for this plan.  MDE approved the request, launching the district into a process of working with architects and bidding out the project in early May of 2022.

  • Due to inflation and escalated construction costs, the project bids came in higher than anticipated at approximately $5.1 million (bids were opened in late June).  

  • At a July 7, 2022 special board meeting, the Board of Education decided to move forward with this project despite the increased costs to utilize the $4,000,000 federal funding.

  • The district is in discussion with the City of Crookston about a possible purchase of Washington Elementary School in order to expand local child care opportunities for our parents/families.  There have actually been two other entities/organizations that have inquired about the use of Washington School at this time.

  • The district plans to be ready to transition Preschool and Kindergarten to Highland Elementary School in the Fall of 2024, with the 6th Grade moving to the high school/middle school building in the Fall of 2023 (this fall).

  • The addition at Highland Elementary School will include SIX new preschool classrooms and a few small group spaces allowing students and staff to move into the building for teaching and learning.


Our “Why” -  Why Is This Great For Crookston Schools?

“Proposed Middle School and Preschool Projects. These proposed building additions will pave the way for the future configuration for Crookston Public Schools without a tax impact on our local taxpayers. The funding for this project will come from Federal ESSR dollars that must be expended by September 2024 and will not result in any tax impact to our taxpayers. This project has already been approved by the state of MN in order to utilize these funds in this manner. In addition to this, we believe that this proposed project will actually lead to reduced operational cost for the district down the road and give the district flexibility to meet the changing demographics of our community and region. This will also meet our current and future strategic direction for the expansion of Preschool, contribute to space for a community childcare approach, and contribute to the creation of a middle school which will serve the developmental needs of our kids”.  (Dr. Olson, Superintendent)

Benefits of a New PreK-5 and a New Middle School Configuration:

  • Moving the Preschool and Kindergarten classes to Highland Elementary School will allow staff the opportunity to collaborate with each other in planning for the diverse needs of our students and provide more access to varying levels of instructional resources. The new classrooms will have self-contained bathrooms to better support our early learners and ensure their safety.  Additionally, an indoor play area will be located on the ground level (lower level gym), designed to promote developmentally appropriate play.

  • Many added supports for students:  Student Success Center, Full-Time Counselor, 2.5 Social Workers and a Student Success Coordinator.

  • Moving 6th Grade to the secondary-level building allows the middle school to become a stronger model for supporting adolescent growth and learning. Teachers will be able to plan interdisciplinary units focused on educational topics with a flexible schedule.  This flexible schedule will allow middle school teachers to collaborate as teaching teams to meet the needs of each student and create a middle school culture focused on transitioning students from elementary school to high school

  • This move/transition will allow the district to house all students in two buildings, creating many efficiencies for the overall district (food service, transportation, mental health support, health services, improved parking, reduced travel time for staff, etc.).  Parents of preschool and elementary students (PreK-5) will have all of their children in ONE building.

  • The District will have a “state of the art” Preschool to attract future students.  Our plan includes an improved student drop off and pick up area that is safer, larger and more efficient for families.

  • Cost Savings:  Maintenance (mowing, snow removal, roofing, etc.); Utilities (two buildings versus three); Efficiencies mentioned above; and increases in construction costs, if the district built at a later date.  The District will have two buildings that have been updated and will require minimal maintenance/updates in the next 5-7 years.


  • The district is able to take advantage of one-time federal funds to pay for the majority of this project and minimize a direct impact on local taxpayers and residents.  District residents are not being taxed on the cost of the project – 5.1 million dollars, which doesn’t include taxes on the interest that would be related to the bonding of the 5.1 millions dollars.

The building, the walls, the brick & mortar is not what makes a Washington School a GREAT place for our youngest students to grow and learn, it is the people, the programming, the service that make Washington the GREAT place that it is – this can be successfully replicated and transitioned into a new space and a different building.



  • Construction is planned to begin in May at the high school/middle school with a planned completion date of August 2023.

  • Construction is planned to begin in May at Highland with a planned completion date of July of 2024.

  • Students and staff will begin the 2024-2025 school year in these new spaces located at Highland Elementary School

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