Staples, Minn.,
17:01 PM

Public Gets First Look at Freshwater's New Facility

New year, new school for Freshwater students and district staff

Nearly 50 students in the Freshwater Education District will start the new school year with a new facility. 

The public got its first glimpse of the 32,000 square-foot building at an open house and ribbon cutting celebration on Tuesday (Aug. 27, 2019) afternoon. The new facility serves grades 2-12 enrolled in Freshwater's Setting IV programming and is also the main office for district staff.

Highlights of the facility include ten classrooms, an activities center, lunch room, administrative offices and workroom, and conference rooms. It is located at the south end of Wadena's Industrial Park – 2222 Industrial Drive Wadena, Minn.

What is Setting IV?

Setting IV refers to programming in a separate school setting for students with significant behavioral or mental health issues. Students get extra academic, behavioral, and mental health programming in the alternate setting.

Made for the students

Freshwater administration and staff worked closely with Nor-Son construction, ORB Management, and BHH Partners (planners/architects) to design a building specific to the needs of the students.

  • Connected classrooms offer better flow and easier transitions
  • Lockers in the classrooms improve safety and supervision
  • Windows above head height give natural light without outside distraction
  • Small work spaces give students a break within the room
  • Calm colors and dimmable lights ease tension

10 years in the making

Freshwater dreamt of a custom school for nearly a decade. In October 2016, area special education leaders met with Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) staff and put the dream into motion. Sourcewell gave $5 million to the project and Freshwater added $1 million in reserve funds.

Sourcewell also gave $5 million to the Mid-State Education District in Little Falls for a new Setting IV school. That facility celebrates with an open house tomorrow, Aug. 28, 2019. The district serves Onamia, Pierz, Royalton, Swanville, Upsala, and Isle, and has a facility partnership with Little Falls Community Schools.

About Sourcewell

Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota's nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with more than 325 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.