In 2015, the Minneapolis Public Schools Athletics Department developed a five-year strategic plan for programs and facilities. The strategic plan outlined multiple goals that support improving the quality of athletic facilities, as well as expanding the use of athletic facilities by all student groups and our community as a whole.
The first phase of improving the athletic facilities was to develop community fitness centers at each high school. This began with Minneapolis Public Schools partnering with the Hennepin County Youth Sports Grant Program in 2013-2014 to develop new community fitness centers at South and Roosevelt high schools. In 2014-2015, Minneapolis Public Schools partnered with the Hennepin Youth Sports Program to develop new community fitness centers at Edison, Henry and Southwest high schools. In 2015-2016, Minneapolis Public Schools partnered with the Hennepin County Youth Sports Program to complete the community fitness centers at the remaining two high schools – North and Washburn.
The second phase of upgrading Minneapolis Public Schools’ athletic facilities is to bring our fields to top-of-the-line standards, which will be accomplished by upgrading turf at each high school. We have submitted applications for the Hennepin County Youth Sports Program grant to help fund these projects.
Increased districtwide and community usage and participation at the field at North and South high schools are the most important aspects of the initiative to install upgraded turf. The fields will become a community asset and will end a long-term practice of limiting the use of high school fields due to wear and tear concerns.
The financing model that will be used in developing each of the turf fields will be to pursue grant funds, donations and community group investments, along with Minneapolis Public School capital funds.
Along with the field renovations, Minneapolis Public Schools is planning to complete other improvements at the North and South athletic fields. These improvements are not included in the grant request or the project budget outlined as part of the grant for this year, but they are needs that have been identified and we plan to pursue the Hennepin County Youth Sports Program grant to help fund them in the future. At North, these improvements include replacement of the track facility, indoor bathrooms, a concession stand that meets health codes, and bleacher replacement. At South, these improvements include track facility replacement and bleacher replacement.