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Lake Park-Audubon Schools superintendent Dale Hogie gives a tour of a physics room at the new high school. New equipment and textbooks go hand-in-hand with the new building. Photo by - Brian Basham

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Welcome to LP-A High School
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

LAKE PARK -- The anticipation is building to a climax for students, parents and staff in the Lake Park-Audubon school district this week, as the official opening of the new LP-A High School is now less than a week away.

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"The spirit of renewal in moving into a new building is energizing," said High School Principal Kevin Ricke. "It is a great time to be a Raider."

"It's an exciting time for LP-A," said Hogie during the board meeting that followed Monday night's tour.

School board members got a sneak peek at the building prior to their Monday board meeting in Lake Park, as Superintendent Dale Hogie led them and a small group of invited guests on a tour of the 105,000-square-foot facility.

After the tour, School Board Chair Vicky Grondahl welcomed guests to the first official school board meeting to be held inside the new building.

The general public will get their first chance to view the $20 million facility a week from today, on Wednesday, Aug. 29, as the district hosts an open house for parents and students at the new high school from 5 to 7 p.m.

The open house will be preceded by a special 7th grade orientation session, which begins at 3 p.m. inside the new media center (located on the facility's upper level).

But the main event is still about a month and a half away: The official dedication of the new Lake Park-Audubon High School will be held during the last weekend of September, as part of All-School Reunion festivities.

The reunion will also coincide with Lake Park's annual Pumpkin Fest celebration, Hogie noted, and both the new and old high school facilities will be open to welcome past and present students of the district.

Though there are a few last-minute things left to do, "I am confident that the essential components of the new building will be ready for our open house," Ricke said. "I anticipate that the bleachers in the gym may not be installed in time, so we are planning for our seventh grade orientation to take place in the media center."

During the tour, Hogie pointed out how the building's layout had been planned to group rooms with similar functions together. For instance, the band and choir rooms are adjacent to each other, with a corridor between them that includes some small, soundproofed rooms which are ideal for practicing, private lessons, and even recording music.

"It's going to work out extremely well for us," Hogie said.

The new theater (which can double as a secondary gymnasium) is also located in this area. The theater has a 16-foot screen that can be lowered from the ceiling for watching video presentations, and also has built in light and sound systems.

The kitchen, concessions and student commons area are also grouped together in the center of the building, which will be a particularly happy change for students, according to Ricke.

"The commons area in the new building is a huge blessing," he said. "The favorite period of the school day for some students is lunch. In the former building, most students would have most students would have to travel from the highest level of the 1890 building to the lowest level of the 1922 building, which was a downward spiral through six levels using different sets of stairs or two different elevators, just to get to the cafeteria.

"Then, if a student needed to use the washroom during lunch period, he or she would have to climb two levels to get to the nearest restroom.

"Finally, if a student wanted to unwind in the gym the remaining few minutes of the lunch period, he or she would need to travel across the entire campus from the 1922 addition, through the 1890 building, then through the 1960 addition to get to the gym in the 1980 wing -- not student-friendly.

"In the new building, the kitchen, cafeteria, gym and restrooms are arrange in one centralized, student-friendly location," Ricke added.

The building's layout is such that during the school day, the south end of the facility is the busiest, while after classes have adjourned for the day, the hub of activity moves to the north end of the building, where the band and choir rooms, theater and gymnasium are located, Ricke said.

In addition, Hogie said, there is wireless Internet access throughout the building, and with 50 cameras up and running throughout the building and grounds, security will also be much improved.

"There will be a few blind spots, but we should know who has access to certain parts of the building (and when)," Hogie said.

"We are eagerly looking forward to enhancing the educational experience for our students through updated technology, expanded curriculum and lab experiences, as well as a safer and healthier facility with regards to air quality, water quality, temperature control and no limitations in terms of handicap accessibility," Ricke stated.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 14 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 844-1454
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