The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t slowed construction of Prior Lake High School’s new activity center.
Athletic director Russ Reetz 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.
“It’s been a ton of work, but I feel really good,” 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. In accordance with Governor Tim Walz’s executive orders, 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 pods 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 developing comprehensive plans for a safe return to their respective sports.
“We’re looking at youth camps for basketball and volleyball the week (the new activity center) opens,” Reetz said. “We plan to follow Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for gyms and health clubs. We hope that some restrictions will be lifted by then.”
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 to the community.
Reetz said the facility can be used in multiple ways, including four basketball and tennis courts and six volleyball courts. There is a four-lane walking track, four batting cages, two batting nets, and a mat hoist that will house cheerleading and wrestling mats.
“I believe the new space will be booked most nights until 10 p.m. and open to close on weekends,” Reetz said. “In terms of high school programming, this facility will be a game-changer for all sports, including activities like marching band and robotics.
“I’m so excited to bring dance and joy back to high school,” Reetz added. “They have been training for a long time at both colleges. We will also be able to do all levels of basketball training by 7 p.m.”
Other intramural activities will also be available in the new facility. Reetz plans to add co-ed volleyball this fall and possibly a hip-hop dance program, where participants would perform at halftime during basketball games.
There is also an opportunity to expand the current intramural basketball program and move school dances to the activity center as well as larger community events.
“Our physical education classes will be the big winners,” Reetz said. “They have the space and the facilities to really help our kids develop a lifelong passion for fitness and sports.”