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District plans for summer construction projects including security updates at Secondary and Lincoln Center playground replacement

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 — To many in Minnesota residents, summer is road construction season. It is also when school districts do most of their facility construction and updates. Such is the case in South St. Paul, as the district ramps up for three major construction projects this summer as part of its annual maintenance updates. As part of the district’s long-term facility maintenance plan, Lincoln Center will be getting a new playground, and Kaposia will update its 25-year old boiler system. One of the biggest maintenance projects scheduled for this summer, helped in part from a $500,000 School Safety Grant awarded to SSP Schools from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), is the renovation and relocation of the school’s main office.


This summer, the Secondary School will be remodeling and relocating the main office to allow for a more secured entrance at door #7 (i.e. east entrance off the main parking lot). According to Glen Birnstengel, the construction will include a new entrance that funnels all visitors into the main office before entering the building. Visitors will be buzzed into the main office, at which there will be a “one-stop shop for families” including general building reception, attendance office check-in/check-out, access to school cultural liaisons, and activities office transactions.

Along with the security upgrades, the district will be redesigning the office to create better traffic flow and access to services for students, staff and families. Of note will be a centralized student services/guidance counseling area and dedicated spaces for other student support services. As part of the maintenance updates, the district will also be installing new lighting, new carpeting, and a fresh coat of paint.

The district will be relocating office staff for the summer into other rooms adjacent to the office, closer to door #4 (i.e. south side entrance across from Central Square). In order to avoid summer construction work and create a dedicated entrance for construction staff at door #7, visitors are asked to use door #4 as the main entrance for the Secondary School visitors during the summer months.

  • TIMELINE: Work will start on June 10, 2019, with a projected completion date of mid-August.

  • BUDGET: The security portion of the new main entrance is budgeted at $150,000, coming from the MDE grant. Other security improvements included in the $500,000 grant are updated cameras and communications systems, including new public address (PA) and emergency notification systems. The other office renovations, ranging from $75,000-$110,000, are covered by long-term facility maintenance and health and safety funding.


As it did at Kaposia last summer, the district will be replacing the playground at Lincoln Center this summer. The current play structure at Lincoln Center is 21 years old. According to Birnstengel, “It is becoming more difficult to get replacement parts to repair the play structure, at it is showing its age.” The district proposal is for two playground structures. The larger one will be designed for students ages 5-12 and located where the current structure now stands. The other structure, designed for children ages 2-5 years, will be located south of the existing playground.  

  • TIMELINE: Construction is expected to occur in July and August.

  • BUDGET: $255,000 for both play structures, included in the long-term facility maintenance funding.


One of the larger maintenance projects for summer 2019 is the replacement of one of the boilers used to heat Kaposia Education Center. The boilers are original to the building and in need of replacement at 25 years old. For reliability and efficiency, the district will replace one of the boiler/burners this summer. The new unit will be 15-20 percent more efficient in the consumption of natural gas, resulting in lower energy costs. The new boiler will operate as the lead unit for the building, with the other system not replaced this summer serving as a backup.

  • TIMELINE: Construction is scheduled to begin in late June, with completion expected by the end of September.

  • BUDGET: $160,000, included in the long-term facility maintenance funding, plus a $28,000 rebate from Xcel Energy.