A fond farewell

Doors closing at Bloomington campus

By Elleni Oberle

Talon Staff Writer

“The Bloomington campus was a great place to learn and have fun, and I am very sad it is not going to be here anymore,” said sophomore Luke Brown who spent  kindergarten through 5th grade at the southwest suburban campus in Bloomington Covenant Church at West 102nd Street and Xerxes Avenue.

After the 2010-11 school year the Bloomington Campus will be merging with South Campus to form one Lower School located in Minneapolis. The decision to consolidate Bloomington Campus was made by the Minnehaha Academy Board of Education on January. 27.

“The board labored over the decision for a long time. They looked at enrollment, inquires and data from past years,” said Director of Admissions Kathy Johnson.

Minnehaha’s president and members of the Administrative Leadership Team agreed with the Board’s recommendation and participated in the deliberations. Before the this current school year some staffing accommodations were made, such as combining grades two and three and combining four and five. Also, bringing the Lower Schools, Bloomington and South Campus, under the leadership of a single principal, Bruce Maeda, who was hired for that position this year.

Bloomington Campus opened in the 1996-97 school year with an enrollment of 43 students. Enrollment went up until the 2001-02 when it reached 123 students. After that, enrollment decreased each year; the current enrollment is 40 students.

“I think the families are sad. They loved Bloomington, but the response is positive,” Johnson said.

“Intellectually I understand it, but it’s very difficult emotionally,” said Bloomington Campus parent Kara VonArx. “We love that school,”

Some of the families at Bloomington have decided to send their children to South Campus next year.

“I know we currently have 25 of 40 students at Bloomington Campus currently re-enrolled,” Maeda said in late March.

Families enrolling a student in South Campus in grades 1-5 will receive a 10 percent discount if they enrolled before March 15. If they enrolled after March 15 then they will receive a five percent discount. This discount will be provided for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. Families enrolling a student in sixth grade in the next two years  will receive the same discount as a student in grades 1-5, but the discount will only be provided for the 2011-12 school year.

“We know it may be difficult for students to transition to south campus so we’re trying to make it more comfortable for them,” said Maeda.

Families enrolling their current Bloomington Campus students at South Campus for grades 1-5 also get the free shuttle service between campuses. The shuttle service expires when 2010-11 a Bloomington student completes 5th grade at South Campus.

Some current Upper School students expressed sadness at the news.

“Everybody knew everyone else; it was like a family reunion every single day” said freshman Erin LeVahn.

Compared to South Campus, Bloomington’s class sizes were smaller. In past years there has been one class for each grade, but in the 2010-11 school year grades have been combined. At South Campus, however, there are more than 500 students from preschool to eighth grade, where there are two or three classes for each grade.

There have been several open houses for families to have the opportunity to look at South Campus. Families can also set up an individual tour during the day to look at the school while it’s in session.

“Once they tour South Campus they will be more excited, confident,” said Johnson. “There are more offerings at South Campus.”

Bloomington Campus was a great place for kids to learn. They not only learned a lot they made good relationships with their peers.

“Some of my best friends I have now are from the Bloomington campus,” Brown said. “The community was great and the teachers were awesome.”



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