Rumors swirl about empty land north of field


Soline Van de Moortele

The empty lot next to the South field has been the subject of much scrutiny among South students. Despite rumors the land will be used for a new South field, the school board is in support of the land being used for an Adult Education building.

They say that rumors spread like wildfire. For the last 2 years, confusion has surrounded the 4 blocks radius of South High. Many people believe that it is a plan set in stone to renovate South’s field. But that isn’t quite the case. A plan to create a new building for the Transition Plus and Adult Education programs has been in the works for the past couple months.

Is South athletics being left behind? Or are the other MPS education programs finally getting their needs met?

To answer this question, it is both. While South athletics, specifically the field, has consistently been forgotten by MPS, Transition Plus and Adult Education haven’t been getting any special treatment either.

“It’s a workforce investment project.”  Paul Enestvedt, the program coordinator of Adult Education said shortly in response to being ask what the goal of the program was.

Adult Education is a program apart of Minneapolis Community Education . This program exists to facilitate the learning and participation of adults and children so they can improve their lives and their community. One of the main things that Adult Education does is helping adults complete their education and get their GED.

With the creation of this new building, placed next to South, Transitions Plus and Adult Education would come together in a building together for the first time. This is not the only first that would happen. It would also be the first time a building was built specifically in mind to tend to the needs of Transition Plus and Adult Education.

Although it was said that the current building for Adult Education was working well for the students and staff, that is not the case for Transitions Plus.

Transitions is currently located on 33rd and Elliot, in the Laura Ingalls Wilder school complex. The Wilder complex was originally created as an elementary school. Transition plus is a program for 18-21 year old students within the Minneapolis Public Schools.  That being said, adults don’t typically fit well in a the elementary setting.

Transitions Plus provides a variety of instructional services and training to young adults who are eligible for special education transition services. Students at Transitions Plus have an enormous diversity of abilities and potential.

“The location makes it accessible to all students in the city, not just the students that are close in the neighborhood, because of transit, because of bus lines. It just makes it that more accessible to all of our students in Minneapolis.” said Jason Backes, an adminster from Transition Plus.  Accommodating to the needs of all people, especially in the sense of ability, is an important task that MPS must tend to to create equity  “It really sends the message that every student is equally valuable, regardless of the path you take.” said Sarah Olson, a coordinator of Adult Education

While there is equity to be upheld through new buildings and facilities, athletics still remains an important aspect to South High’s community.

For some, it means participating in the pep band or being a spectator at a sporting event.  For others, it means participating in a sport as an athlete.  Some athletes and teams are more social in nature, others are more competitive in nature. All can be equally important.” said Jennifer Bochman, a dedicated mother and member of South high women’s soccer booster club.

Currently, MPS athletes are graduating at a rate of 98.9%, with an average GPA of 3.1. Statistics indicate that attendance and academic performance is significantly improved by participation in a high school sport

“Participation in athletics can be one of the greatest motivators for a student to both attend school and perform to the best of their ability academically.  The positive physical and mental health benefits to participation in athletics during adolescents can be huge.” Bochman reiterated.

Many South parents have come together to advocate for a new field to be put in place. Petitions have been signed. Voices have been spoken. Meetings have been attended. The efforts of South High parents, especially those involved in the soccer booster club, have remained strong and persistent through the speculations of a new building being put into place.

“I think the South High community has been forced to make the best of a bad situation that other schools don’t have to face.  It shows both resiliency and creativity of South High but also inequitable if you view it from a district/city perspective, “ Bochman said.

Although no plans are quite set in stone, Minneapolis Public School board clearly are pressing the plans of a new building for Transition Plus and Adult Education to be put into place. With this building being placed next to South, doors will open for the Corcoran neighborhood. “It’s really recognizing the community based need by coming up with a community based solution. That’s the way I like to think about it.“ said Enestvedt