Our 83-year-old high school is outdated and in need of major repairs

With almost 1,600 students enrolled in Mora schools, Mora is one of the largest school districts in the area. The high school serves over 750 students in grades 7-12 each year in the oldest school building in our region. Our community hasn’t made a major investment in our high school classrooms since 1977, when an addition was built on to our 1936 facility.  

After decades of use and significant changes in classroom education strategies, our high school facility limits our ability to serve today’s students.

Our outdated building has health and safety problems

Currently, our outdated building has health and safety concerns for students and staff, including:

  • Lack of a secure main entrance

  • A busy street separating the parking lot from the building

  • Aging ventilation systems leading to poor air quality and inadequate air flow

  • Leaking roof and deteriorating windows, resulting in mold

  • Leaking pipes, embedded in concrete and not accessible

  • Inefficient, difficult-to-control heating system, requiring students to wear coats in some classrooms during the winter

  • Lead in the drinking water 

  • Old fire alarms and an incomplete fire sprinkler system

  • Asbestos and hazardous materials throughout the building 

  • Undersized cafeteria, with serving lines creating long waits for students

  • Toilets, classrooms, shops and building entrances lack handicap accessibility 

  • Confusing walkways in stairwells and building additions, which make it difficult for teachers to supervise all students at once

Our classrooms and shops are not equipped for modern education

Professional engineers assessed our high school to determine whether they meet standards for education, safety, security, and building operations. In 18 categories defined by the Minnesota Department of Education as important for educational success:

  • Only 6 of our 25 classrooms met the Department of Education standards for educational adequacy.  That is, 76% of our classrooms are below state standards.

  • Our FACS spaces and science labs do not meet the standards

  • Computer labs are significantly below the standards, meeting only 50% of state guidelines

  • Wood shop and ag spaces are significantly below the standards

Compare the improvements made to Mora Elementary with our current facilities for secondary students

 
Green: Adequate. Meets most of the standards.  Yellow: Questionable adequacy. Meets some of the standards. Red: Inadequate. Meets one or none of the standards.

Green: Adequate. Meets most of the standards. Yellow: Questionable adequacy. Meets some of the standards. Red: Inadequate. Meets one or none of the standards.

 

Lack of proper classroom spaces, particularly for vocational training and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education limits hands-on learning that is critical to student success. For example:

  • Auto shop and welding spaces are inadequate, resulting in too few students getting access to the hands-on learning stations

  • Outdated electrical systems in classrooms, kitchen work stations and shops are inadequate for running multiple devices needed for student work.  Attempts by students to use equipment that requires electricity often results in blown fuses

  • Inoperable gas lines for Bunsen burners for hands-on science experiments

  • Science lab stations don’t have sinks, electrical outlets or proper ventilation

  • Band and choir rooms have limited space to store instruments and music, resulting in expensive instruments piled up without being able to be secured and equipment being easily damaged

  • Crowded, windowless rooms, which do not allow students to rearrange their desks or move around their classrooms to work together on assignments

  • Not enough space to give everyone enough time in computer labs 

  • Windows that leak and have cracks allowing bees, wasps and other insects inside the classroom, creating a particular safety risk for students with allergies

  • Limited access for students who need to use wheelchairs, crutches or other medical equipment

 

Why not just fix it?

Necessary renovations will cost approximately $42 million.

The boiler and multiple ventilation systems need replacement.  Drinking water, electrical and fire safety systems need major upgrades.  The building envelope needs significant repair and replacements.  Most of our classrooms are significantly below Minnesota Department of Education standards.

Even if we had the funds to make necessary repairs, we would be left with the same outdated design and ongoing maintenance costs that would continue to siphon our school’s limited resources year after year.