Oct 9, 2017, 2:02pm CDT Updated: Oct 9, 2017, 2:51pm CDT

Hiawatha Academies building high school at Longfellow’s former soda bottling plant

Hiawatha Academies, a network of charter schools in South Minneapolis, has begun construction on a new high school at the site of the former Canada Dry and Shasta bottling plant in the Longfellow neighborhood.

About 40 percent of the former bottling plant will be preserved, including its curved block glass entrance. New construction of 60,000 square feet will result in about 105,000 square feet of school space, said Sean Elder, chief operating officer for Hiawatha Academies.

The school, built in 1946, is at the corner of 28th Street East and 36th Avenue South. It represents the final piece of Hiawatha Academies’ strategic plan to have five schools serving 2,4000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Hiawatha Collegiate High School will open in August 2018. Students at the current high school, at 46th Street and 16th Avenue, will move, making their former space available for middle school students, Elder said.

Hiawatha Academies has around 300 high school students, but the network expects that number to grow to 788 at the new campus.

The new school will have a gym, soccer fields, media labs, a biochemistry lab and art, music and dance space.

The $27.3 million project was made possible by Sunrise Banks, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Propel Nonprofits (formerly Nonprofits Assistance Fund), Partners for the Common Good, Anchor Bank, and Charter Schools Development Corporation, according to a press release. Members of the Minnesota Business Partnership, including Polaris Industries, Xcel Energy, Hubbard Broadcasting, and Dorsey & Whitney, are also dedicating significant resources to the project, according to the release.

About 98 percent of the Hiawatha Academies network are students of color, Elder said, and 65 percent are English language learners.

The architect is U+B Architecture & Design of Minneapolis and the general contractor is Schreiber Mullaney Construction of St. Paul.

A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for Oct. 25.

Nick Halter
Staff Reporter/Broadcaster
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal