LCS News » 2021 Renovation & Addition

2021 Renovation & Addition

Lake Country School’s 2021 Renovation & Addition Project

Entrance Before and After


In Fall 2020, the Lake Country School Board of Trustees voted to move forward with Phase 1 of the Facilities Master Plan and undergo construction on the front entrance and general population areas of the urban campus. The LCS Board of Trustees conducted financial modeling and assessed the risks of moving forward with this work. We evaluated whether or not this project supports the mission, vision, and values of Lake Country School. We were slated to begin construction in Spring 2020 but voted to postpone due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and related financial uncertainties. 

The project stems from the 2013 Strategic Plan and subsequent development of a Facilities Master Plan. It is the first in a series of renovations that will occur over the next 10-15 years. The positive impacts to LCS are numerous as listed below and reflect the LCS values of: Love of Work, Integrity, Partnership, Community, Responsibility, and Stewardship.

With the board’s confidence, construction plans became reality in February 2021 with a “brick removal” ceremony as our official groundbreaking event. This was a first for Knutson Construction and along with other project partners, Snow Kreilich Architects, NTH Project Management, and some members of former and current staff and board members who participated in the master plan, we broke ground. Construction continued into the summer and fall, and the project was completed in December 2021. Students and staff returned from winter break in 2022 with a ribbon cutting ceremony to the new spaces. 

The main parts of this project were:

  • New Main Entrance
  • Gathering Space
  • New 3rd Floor Space
  • New Research Center
  • Staff Room
  • Conference Room
  • Wellness Coordinator Office
  • Material Making Room
  • Reconfigured Cafeteria
  • More Extended Day Space
  • Administrative Offices
  • New Elevator
  • Set-up for Future Renovations

Click the drop downs below to see the steps of the construction project and learn more about our new spaces. You can also watch the full photo gallery of the project below!

Work quickly got underway with administrative staff packing their work areas and moving to their temporary offices. Some were welcomed into the cafeteria which was not in use due to Covid and others along with the front desk and school office resources were welcomed to the CH/E1 entrance and conference room by Pleasant Ave.

Temporary front desk

After a lot of noisy demolition of the front entrance and main stairway, new foundation walls and elevator core were poured creating the structural base for the new addition. Head of School Ben Moudry and some LCS staff signed the concrete footing under the new entrance, including Maria Montessori’s name, to ensure that she was always at the foundation of our school work.

Ben Moudry signs concrete footing

After the new foundation was poured and a steel framework for the new entrance was constructed, a crane was moved onsite to help lift the new concrete floors into place. Knutson Construction provided a drone to capture footage of the process. Once the new floors were placed, drywall and glass were installed to begin the interior work on the spaces. 

Drone Image of steel structure

Students spent many hours watching the developing work and being part of the process themselves. For safety, some of the classroom windows within the construction site were covered to protect windows and students. Classrooms got creative and made art pieces to cover the interior views and hung decorative lighting to brighten their spaces.

Children's House classroom with lights

Once the new front sidewalk was poured, the red sculpture (“Montessori Vision”) was reinstalled at the urban campus in a new location closer to the Green Space. Mimi and Steve Fisher (alumni parents) joined Pat and Larry Schaefer (co-founders of Lake Country School) and Head of School Ben Moudry to watch as the sculpture was placed in its new location. This art piece was commissioned by the Fishers and given to the school in honor and memory of their daughter Carly, who had been a Lake Country student. It has become iconic to the entire Lake Country community. 

Fisher Family, Schaefers, and Ben Moudry in front of the Red Sculpture

The sandbox in the front playground area was also temporarily removed for the construction of the new entrance. The new sandbox was rebuilt and framed with wood from our former pergola. Our 40th anniversary commemorative brick pavers were re-installed in the new sidewalk. We are thrilled that our project partners were able to find new uses and space for these treasured items.

New Sandbox with pergola wood

Staff, board, and donors were included in hard hat tours to walk in the new rooms and witness the transformation up close. Visitors were impressed with the amount of space, access and beauty this project brings to our urban campus. The final touches on the interior spaces were completed during winter break at the end of 2022.

When students returned from winter break, staff greeted them with a ribbon cutting outside the new main doors. Head of School Ben Moudry gave a short speech and cut the ribbon so students and staff could begin using our new entryway and staircase. We also hosted a reception in January 2022 for our project partners, donors, and other community members. 

Ribbon cutting

We are deeply grateful for and incredibly excited at the completion of this project. It started with an idea eight years ago to create a Facilities Master Plan to support the mission and vision of LCS for decades to come. This project will benefit all of us, as well as the many generations who will be part of the LCS community in the future.

Main Entrance—Our new entrance is more welcoming, secure, and easily identified as the entrance to the school. The reception desk is located to the left inside the main doors. It offers a clear view of the sidewalk and visitors, who must be “buzzed in” to enter the reception area. The interior doors of the vestibule offer greater safety and security. Adjacent to the receptionist area is a new health office with a bathroom, two curtained rest areas for students, and a desk for LCS Health Support staff. This is a more comfortable place for children to rest when not feeling well. 

Main Entrance

Gathering Space—When entering the new main doors, you step into the large area beneath our new stairwell. This is an atrium with floor-to-ceiling windows reaching to the third story and showcases the previously exterior brick walls. There are seating areas for socializing and meeting in this space. The old elevator was replaced with a new, larger one. It can carry people and materials from the lower level cafeteria to the entry level, floors one and two, and opens directly into the new third floor space. Its location has shifted slightly to where the original main staircase was located. Just up the stairs, we also added two individual all-gender restrooms.

Gathering Space

Reconfigured Cafeteria­—The cafeteria was reconfigured to remove the center wall, creating more open space and allowing for additional seating for student lunch and better use as an event space. There is now enough room for an entire level to have lunch together and leave the E1 and E2 common spaces for students' Big Work. The Extended Day Program also has more space and a designated storage closet. Stadium seating leads up to the gathering space and the natural light flows into the cafeteria making it much brighter and more open. Students love to hang out on the large stairs. An E1 student shared, "The steps in the cafeteria are fun for playing games!"

Reconfigured cafeteria

Administrative Offices—The new administrative offices are located directly behind the reception desk. The lower space houses Admissions, Communications, and Development, with the upper area designated for Business, Operations, and Head of School offices. Both the upper and lower areas include workstations and several individual offices. Staff mailboxes and other administrative items such as the copier, timeclock, and student records are now located in this space.

Administrative Offices

Staff Room—After more than a decade with no dedicated space for staff, the new staff room has comfortable seating for lunch or break time. It includes a refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, coffeemaker, and two microwaves. Staff have been enjoying this new space to connect with one another, eat lunch together, and enjoy the delicious weekly snacks provided by our thoughtful parent/guardian community.

Staff Room

Conference Room—Directly above the Staff Room, there is a new conference room with a digital screen, plenty of seating, and a view of the new gathering space/staircase area. Its large screen, useful for presentations and Zoom meetings, supports several groups who meet in this space regularly, including Parent Link, the Board of Trustees, Admissions visitors, and of course the students.

Conference Room

Material Making Room—This room is for staff to do the work for the classroom. They have laminators, computers, work tables, paper cutters and more to create materials for their classroom environments and student work. These resource items were previously located in a smaller room on the main floor, now serving as additional student tutoring space and staff offices. 

Material Making Room

Wellness Coordinator Office—The Wellness Coordinator Office has grown in size and relocated down the hall. This larger space offers room to meet with small groups of students with fun comfy furniture and gives parents/guardians a private and safe environment. 

Wellness Coordinator

New Research Center—The brand-new Research Center features new furniture, new technology, more windows and workspaces, including a cozy reading nook and small meeting room. Over the summer and fall with the help of several LCS parent/guardian volunteers, Research Center Coordinator Sarah Richardson worked on reviewing and re-organizing the library’s inventory of books before they were put onto the shelves in the new space. They reviewed the books with an eye toward equity and social justice, removing some old books and purchasing new ones. This process is evergreen, as we strive for the books in the collection to provide "windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors" for ALL LCS students. Students have shared that they are already enjoying the new RC. An E1 student said, "I like that there are new beanbags and more shelves." Another E1 student shared, "In the fiction section, there are a lot of different books than in the classroom. It's a lot bigger space and more organized." 

New Research Center

Third Floor—The new third floor space is a flexible work area that immediately put to use for the Junior High Latin America Summit, an LCS Environmental Group recycling event, and an auction-sponsored new family party. This large, open space with big windows offers a stunning view of the neighborhood, and has floor drains and electricity on pulleys from the ceiling, as well as additional storage. As time goes on, use of this space will evolve and we imagine Big Work happening here. An E2 student shared, "I like the room on the highest floor. I had gym up there once and it was pretty fun to look down."

Design Center

Step Up Challenge spelled in Moveable Alphabet

In the fall of 2019, Lake Country School launched a fundraising campaign to secure $1.5M to support the renovation and new addition to our 118-year-old building. To say this initiative was successful would be an understatement. In less than three years (and during a pandemic, no less!), the LCS community generously supported Step Up and the fundraising goal was met and exceeded. LCS would like to acknowledge donors to Step Up, the campaign for Lake Country School.

While we strive for the highest levels of accuracy with donor listings, errors do occur. If you have any questions about donor listings, or wish to offer any corrections, please contact the LCS Development Office at (612) 827-3707 or [email protected]. Likewise, if you would like to contribute to Step Up, your donation will be gratefully accepted. (Recent additions to the donor list are in blue.)

Bill Acton

Advancement Partners

Peter & Susan Ahn

Val Barankovic & Doug Alecci

Jamie Alfaro-Glover

Chuck & Fiona Anderson

Lucinda Anderson

David & Kari Augdahl

Laura & JJ Austrian

Patricia Bachmeier

Lynn Liberman & Elizabeth Barnard

Jennifer Lee & Eric Barstad

Colleen Bentley

Brian & Kate Bispala

Ted & Jane Bispala

Marilyn Bix

Diann Ackard & Chadburn Blomquist

Barry Blomquist

Shayla & Chad Boger

Marsha Huha & William Boulger

Katie Bovee

Elaine Brinda

Colin & Minna Brooks

Conley & Carol Brooks

Nick & Wendy Brown

Robyn & Dan Bruggeman

Camille Burke

Richard & Ilana Callender

Jennie Leskela & Douglas Choate

The Christianson Family

Jennifer & Mariano Clemente

April Zoll Close & Nic Close

Kathy & Chuck Coskran

Juanita Costa

Dennis Coyne

Julie Dean & Scott Deetz

Tayne DeNeui

Beth Desnick

The Tom & Patty Doar Foundation

Christee & Pat Donovan

Kevin & Beth Dooley

Millie Dosh

Paul Dosh & Andrea Galdames

Anne McLaughlin Drake

Andrew Duff

Rory & Nicole Duggan

Lynda Kauls & Geoffrey Emerson

Katie Haag & M. Vaughn Emerson

Sarah Endsley

Caren Zhao & Andy Feldman

Sharon & Jack Ferraro

Carolyn & Howard Fisk

Becca Nelson & Chad Foote

Nikki Sorum & Simon Foster

Nicole & Eric Frost

Andrea Johnson & David Fry

Jen Bush & Andy Gaertner

Larissa Kokernot & Karl Gajdusek

Susie & Hal Goldstein

Alex Terzich & Leslie Grant

Heather & Peter Haakenson 

Payton & Judy Hage

Craig & Kirsten Hargreaves

Betty Heefner

Christian & Ryann Hewitt

John & Amy Higgins

Allen & Joanne Hinderaker

Carly & Matt Hodes

Mariel Pillola & James Hoeft

Malinda Holte

Alexander Gurfinkel & Lindsay Howell

Candy Husemoller

Jason & Catherine Jennings

Barry & Karen Johnson

Terry & Janice Johnson

Michael Keller

Barb & Philip Kitze

Vonny & Justin Kleinman

The Joel & Laurie Kramer Fund of 

  The Minneapolis Foundation

Chris Lange

Erika Schumacher Lange

Amy & Bruce Langer

Cheryl Sullivan & Bruce Little

The Longview Foundation

Barbara Wolle Lorenzsonn & Elger Lorenzsonn

Betsy & Brian Lucas

Jon & Colleen Manchester

Jill Maraist

Margaret Shreves & Bill Marshall

Alisdair & Lisa McKay

Todd & Christine McVay

Matt Mach & Rita Mehta

Sarah Jean & Ned Mitchell

Clara Zamorano & Colin Monette

Leah Monson

Leanne Monthéard

Carrie MacNabb & Scott Moriarity

Katie & Mark Mortenson

Alice Mortenson

Sharon & George† Moudry

Sarah & James Moudry

Michelle & Benedict Moudry

Franchelle C. & James Mullin

Angela & John Mullin

Fran Rusciano Murnane

Gloria Vallejo & Adam Nathe

Mary & David Neal

Mina Fisher & Fritz Nelson

Sara Nelson

Brandon Baker & Libby Nickel

Dick & Marit Nowlin

Caroline Dunn O'Brien & Bill O'Brien

Gary & Mary O'Brien

I.A. O'Shaughnessy Foundation

Julia & Peter Offenhauser

Kristine Berggren & Benedict Olk

Neil Tassoni & Alberto Orioles

Paul Petroski

Alicia Harrison & Nick Peyer

Michelle Strangis & Steven Pincus

Ave Nelson & Cathy Polasky

Joanne Sunquist & Thomas Pritzker

Elisabeth & Don Raasch

Sarah & Steven Richardson

Maria Calvo & Steven Rosenstone

Susan Andrews & Robert Rubenstein

Kyra & Nate Schmitt

Michael & Becky Shaw

Douglas Shaw

Linda & Larry Shelton

Beth & Michael Shogren

Kathleen Doar & Alan Sinaiko

Kiri & Sean Somermeyer

Tanya Spishak

Paula Spiteri

Nancy Ho & Issara Srun

Zoe St. Mane

Suzie & Ivan Stegic

Sherry Stirling

Denise Mollen & James Strother

Harold & Carol Teasdale

Robert Thompson

Cindy Ward-Thompson & Joe Thompson

Jean Thomson

Anders & Kate Thulin

Darrell & Lori Tucker

Emily Adriaens & Kevin Ueland

Dean & Diane Uhls

Mary Vrabel

David Warner

Nancy Warner

Walter & Mary Warpeha

Laura Rubenstein & Jeffrey Weiss

Paul & Joan Wernick

Monica & Neil White

Harvey Wiersgalla

Andy Lee & Cassie Wilkins

Kay & Howard Witherspoon

Anne & Jack Wussler

Jessica Karlsson & David Zahrieh

Amie DeHarpporte & Jason Zimmerman

Paulette Zoë