Education Village continues progress
Maddie Swenson / Winonan
Winona State University is in the process of building Education Village, a facility that will enable undergraduate education students to get out into the community to obtain experience.
Wabasha Hall, Wabasha Recreation Center and the Cathedral School are the three buildings included in Education Village, currently in phase one of production. The cost for the first phase is $5.9 million, which was approved in a bonding bill that passed in the 2013-2014 legislative year, according to the university.
Lisa Pearson, the university’s arboretum director, said most of the current construction on the project is being done with exterior upgrades.
“Currently, most of the construction involves the exterior portion of the building, what we call the envelope, and so that means the roof and the bricks,” Pearson said, adding the work includes repairing and replacing bricks, grout and windows.
During this phase, Winona State also hired an architect, Leo A. Daily. The company is located in the Twin Cities and started with this project in 2015.
Dean of the College of Education Tarrell Portman, said Phase One will hopefully be completed by the summer.
“The Phase One, hopefully, they will complete all of that by June, but it could linger out a little longer. We have prepared the site with the demolition of the homes and the annex,” Portman said. “We are moving right along.”
Phase Two of the project will begin once a bonding bill is passed. However, this bill failed to pass in the last Minnesota legislative year.
“The senate had it fully funded… then at the last minute of the session, actually the last three minutes, there was an amendment put in for [the] light rail in the Twin Cities,” Portman said. “But there are serval good projects that are still out there. I don’t know if there are that many that had phase one and phase two, so we are kinda caught in that limbo between those.”
Scott Ellinghuysen, vice president of finance and administrative services at the university, said “the entire project is solely based on the bonding bill and the funding from it.”
He later added if the bill does not pass the project will sit as is. This would cause the money spent to go up due to up-keep costs.
From the legislative side, Sen. Jeremy Miller and Rep. Gene Pelowski, who both represent Winona County in the Minnesota Legislature, worked together on the proposal for phase one, according to Miller, the lead author of the village proposal in the senate.
“Representative Gene Pelowski and I worked together on Phase One funding for the project in 2014, and were successful in receiving $5.9 million. We are also working together on Phase Two funding for $25.3 million,” Miller said.
Both Miller and Pelowski are supportive of Education Village, and Pelowski said the city of Winona has been supportive of the project as well.
Miller said he would continue to work to get the funding for the village because it would be a “great asset” to the university.
By Maddie Swenson