The new elementary school has been designed — now it needs a name.

The Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board approved design plans for the elementary school during a regular meeting on Monday. The elementary school in Savage was included in the $109.3 million referendum approved by voters in November 2017.

The school, set to open in 2020, will sit on more than 17 acres of land near Big Sky Estates. The two-story building will have a cafeteria to the left of the main entrance, a learning common toward the back of the building and three learning studios to the back and right of the building on the main level.

“I just really appreciate the amount of stakeholder input on this,” Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board member Stacey Ruelle said. “There’s been a lot of revision, a lot of thought put into it. ... I’m excited to see this take place, and I know our community is as well.”

The school is being built to address overcrowding at the elementary level. In the meantime, the district is constructing additional classrooms, using existing spaces as classrooms and utilizing temporary boundary changes to ease overcrowding in classrooms.

Concern over overcrowding gave momentum to the referendum, which included the construction of the new elementary school as well as a new building for the Bridges Area Learning Center and additions to Prior Lake High School and six other schools.

The learning commons in the middle of the main level will be a workspace for students.

“(There’s) a lot of open space for student collaboration throughout,” Superintendent Teri Staloch said.

A kitchen and gymnasium will be to the left of the main entrance.

On the second floor, there will be three more learning studios with stairways connecting to the lower studios.

“It’s too bad we can’t do this to all our elementary schools,” Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board member Mary Frantz said. “I believe these students are going to have a fabulous experience in here.”

The next step will be a name so it can stop being called simply “the new elementary school,” as Communications Director Kristi Mussman joked during the meeting.

A committee made up of residents from Savage and Prior Lake as well as teachers and district staff was created to name the school. The committee will accept name submissions from the public from Dec. 11 to Jan. 10.

The timeline at the moment has the board making a decision on the name in February. It is district policy to choose a name historically or geographically significant to the area.

Residents can submit names for the school by emailing their name, city or township of residence, email, name recommendation and comments or suggestions about the name to kmussman@priorlake-savage.k12.mn.us.

“I urge all community members out there to please submit names,” Board Chairman Richard Wolf said.

The district purchased the land from Prior Lake Aggregates for $60,000 per acre, more than $1 million total. Prior Lake Aggregates will mine $6 million worth of sand and gravel material from the site before reclaiming and filling the mining area.

Maggie Stanwood was born and raised in small-town Iowa before moving to Wyoming in middle school. After her brief stint in the Wild West, she attended the University of Missouri - Columbia, where she graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelors in Journalism.

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