The coronavirus pandemic has not slowed down construction of the new Prior Lake High School activity center.
Sporting director Russ Reetz has said the new facility, which was part of a $ 109 million bond referendum in November 2017, is expected to open on time on August 10.
The bond referendum included $ 46.8 million for additions to the high school, including the new activity center with four courts and a weight room.
âIt’s been a ton of work, but I feel really good,â Reetz said. “Our kids really need to get some structure back, and our coaches are excited to be back.”
The Minnesota State High School League has yet to establish comprehensive guidelines for fall sports. Pursuant to executive orders from Governor Tim Walz, Independent School District 719 began allowing limited access to outdoor grounds on June 8 and will allow indoor facilities to open on July 6.
Access includes groups of 10 or fewer members, and all users must follow outdoor recreation guidelines maintained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Reetz said his coaches are making comprehensive plans for a safe return to their respective sports.
âWe are looking at youth camps for basketball and volleyball as the week (the new activity center) opens,â Reetz said. “We plan to follow the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for gyms and health clubs. We hope by then that some restrictions will be lifted.”
The new activity center will benefit Prior Lake in more ways than one. It is not only a facility for high school sports, but also an asset for the community.
Reetz said the facility can be used in a number of ways, including four basketball and tennis courts and six volleyball courts. There’s a four-lane walking track, four batting cages, two hitting nets, and a mat climber that will house cheerleader and wrestling mats.
âI think the new space will be booked most evenings until 10pm and from opening to closing on weekends,â Reetz said. âIn terms of high school programming, this facility will be a game-changer for all sports, including activities like marching band and robotics.
âI’m very excited to bring the dancing and the fun back to high school,â Reetz added. “They have been training at both colleges for a long time. We will also be able to complete all levels of basketball training by 7:00 PM.”
More intramural activities will also be available in the new facility. Reetz plans to add mixed volleyball this fall and possibly a hip-hop dance program, where participants would perform at halftime during basketball games.
It is also possible to expand the current intramural basketball program and move school dances to the activity center as well as larger community events.
âOur physical education classes will be the big winners,â Reetz said. “They have the space and the facilities to really help our kids develop a lifelong passion for fitness and sports.”