In this article, we will be discussing the various schools around the suburb of Savage, Minnesota. We will be presenting you with a quick overview of the school, as well as some history, and finally, some statistics. All these will be presented if possible.
First off, there’s Prior Lake High School (PLHS), it is located in Savage, Minnesota, covering grades 9-12. The school is part of the South Suburban Conference. It has approximately 3,000 students currently enrolled, along with a teaching and administrative staff of around 400. A book, “Another Planet: A Year in the Life of a Suburban High School”, was written by author Elinor Burkett and paints an inaccurate portrait of life in the school and around the city of Prior Lake. In 2003 when the new high school building opened its doors in its current location of Savage, MN, the decision was made to keep the name “Prior Lake” High School because of the rich history of the school. The principal’s name is John Bezek. The school currently utilizes a 6-period system.
The school is 90% White, 5% Asian, 2% African American, 2% Hispanic, and 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native. The student to teacher ratio is 21:1 and only 7% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program.
In 2009 the school faced issues with overcrowding, with about 200 extra students over capacity enrolled in the high school. A Growth Task Force was created to find solutions to the issue, which included closing open enrollment.
As we specified earlier, we will be discussing schools around the suburb, not in the suburb.
Burnsville High School (BHS) is a four-year public high school located in Burnsville, Minnesota, United States. Burnsville is a southern suburb about 25 minutes outside of St. Paul. The school is part of Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, which covers most of Burnsville, as well as parts of the surrounding cities Savage and Eagan, and small parts of Shakopee and Apple Valley. A majority of the incoming freshmen come from Eagle Ridge, Metcalf, or Nicollet Middle Schools. The school mascot is Sparky, a humanoid with a fireball for a head. Burnsville High School athletics are a part of the South Suburban Conference.
Burnsville High School originally opened in 1957 as a K-12 school with an initial enrollment of about 400 students. In 1966, upon completion of the newly constructed school, students in grades seven through nine started attending Metcalf Junior High. Today, students attending Burnsville’s Metcalf, Eagle Ridge and Nicollet Middle Schools will attend Burnsville Senior High School for grades 9-12.
On April 25, 1994, the largest high school arson in the United States occurred, which resulted in over $15 million in damages. The same arsonist also started fires at Edina High School and Minnetonka High School. During the restoration, high school students studied at nearby Nicollet Junior High and Sky Oaks Elementary Schools. Around the time of the fire, the school’s mascot was changed from the Braves to the Blaze to avoid stigmatizing and stereotyping Native Americans. The name “Blaze” was conceived because of the word “Burnsville” in the school name and had nothing to do with the fire; it was merely a coincidence. The Braves icon is still widely accepted, and many students still have Braves apparel. Prior to the Braves, the first mascot of Burnsville High School was the Bulldogs.
In September 2012, the BHS school board started looking towards Burnsville High School becoming a grades nine-twelve school. If this were done, they would have to add on a new portion of the school. The proposed 40,000-square-foot building addition was estimated at $12 million. Randy Clegg (former superintendent of District 191) also recommended closing the Burnsville High School Senior Campus in 2014 and holding all senior classes at the main campus.
In 1997, District 191 bought the Diamondhead Mall and converted the top level into the Senior Campus to handle increasing enrollment. A year later, it was opened for use. Students can drive or take a shuttle bus to move from one campus to the other. Many classes available only to 12th grade students are offered at the Senior Campus, including many English, math and social studies classes. Most seniors at Burnsville High School spend half their day at this separate campus. The time needed to travel from one campus to the other is only about 10–15 minutes, but many students structure their schedule to consolidate their lunch and travel time. At the end of the 2015-2016 school year, the Burnsville High School Senior Campus closed permanently, and is now used for school district offices.
In 2006 the Beautification Committee, a group of volunteer parents, raised $50,000 from donations and proceeds from 50th anniversary blanket sales to purchase an electronic greeting sign, replacing an old stone one, as part of the school’s 50th anniversary. Burnsville was one of the last not to have an electronic sign, as Lakeville, Bloomington, and Eagan already did. This group has also volunteered their time, energy, and resources to help upkeep the gardens and grounds of the school. There was some controversy among students and community members over the cost of the sign, and many questioned whether people would raise such money for books, new computers, or technology education equipment. The money for the sign, however, was raised by local businesses and private donors, and not taken from the school’s budget.
The original portion of Burnsville High School was constructed in 1959, with additions in 1962, 1971, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1993, 1998, and 2016, which bring the school’s total area to over 440,000 square feet.
A three-year, $13 million renovation commenced during summer 2011. Renovations included upgrades to the building’s science labs, heating system, bathrooms and classrooms, and made the school more accessible to people with disabilities. Lockers were to be replaced, the cafeteria was enlarged and reconfigured, and a larger, more open commons was created.
On February 24, 2015, voters from around the school district voted to approve a funding levy to transform Burnsville High School into a 9-12 school, close the Senior Campus, and convert junior highs into 6-8 middle schools, and elementary schools into K-5 schools. As a result of the increased number of students, Burnsville High School will require an expansion, including classrooms, new fabrication and auto labs, a new gymnasium, and further renovations.
The school participates in the University of Minnesota’s College in the Schools program.
As of the 2010-11 school year, there were 2,218 students attending Burnsville High School. White students made up 69% of the student population, while black students made up the largest minority, representing 13% of the student population. Asian and Hispanic students made up 10% and 8% of the student population respectively. American Indian students made up less than 1% of the student population.
Students with limited English proficiency made up 5% of the student body. Students with special education needs made up 9% of the student body. Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch made up just over one-quarter (26%) of the student body.