By Starrla Cray
MAYER, MN Mayer Lutheran High School (MLHS) has always stood out for its academics, athletics, and Christian values, but a $6.5 million expansion project aims to make it stand out in other ways, too.
“What we are going to be doing is fundamentally changing the look of our school. We’re going to reorient it to face Highway 25,” said Joel Landskroener, executive director of Mayer Lutheran High School.
Currently, the high school campus (305 5th St. NE) isn’t readily visible to travelers.
“When you come through the highway, you wouldn’t even know where it was except for a few signs,” Landskroener said.
The expansion project will provide an intuitive central entrance, classrooms, parking space, staff offices, a spacious commons area, two locker rooms, storage space, and a large fieldhouse.
“It’s a pretty ambitious project,” Landskroener said.
The master plan was developed in 2008, and research was conducted throughout 2009. In 2010, the school focused on getting its capital campaign ready.
Mayer Lutheran’s official fundraising kickoff will be this spring, with construction set to begin in late 2012 or early 2013.
“It’s a marathon to raise that kind of money; it’s not a sprint,” Landskroener said.
The 10-member capital campaign committee is led by Tom and Barb Hoernemann, whose four sons graduated from MLHS.
“They have a heart for MLHS, and they are a great representation of what MLHS means for a lot of people,” Landskroener said.
It can be tough to ask for donations, but Landskroener said he believes the project will be a blessing for the entire Mayer community.
“It has the potential to help bring in new families and new businesses,” he said.
About 65 percent of people who tour MLHS end up enrolling, according to Landskroener.
The extra gym space will allow MLHS to host sporting events for younger students, which might draw in additional students.
Build Christian leaders
For Landskroener, the expansion project isn’t just about a physical building.
“MLHS is a place where we’re building the next generation of Christian leaders,” he said.
Many area people have expressed their support for MLHS by donating in the past.
Since the school was constructed in 1961, there have been four remodeling/addition projects.
The most recent one was the fine arts center, built in 1997.
“It’s a beautiful, well-planned addition,” Landskroener said.
The current expansion plan will be conducted in phases, with the first being the new fieldhouse.
The fieldhouse will eliminate the need to rent gym space, and it will also allow the existing gym to be used exclusively for competitions.
Once the fieldhouse is complete, the current gym will be utilized for competitions.
Landskroener said he hopes to make the fieldhouse available to the public, as well.
Now is a great time for an expansion project, according to Landskroener, because contractors are looking for work.
Classrooms will be constructed later on, with the flexibility to keep adding as needed.
All students welcome
MLHS’s enrollment is staying constant at the moment, but the school is prepared if there is growth.
“We’re really beginning to see more families showing an interest in MLHS that aren’t from the traditional Lutheran background,” Landskroener said.
To learn about donating/volunteering to help the expansion project, call Landskroener at (952) 657-2251 ext. 305 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about MLHS, go to www.lhsmayer.mn.org.
MLHS open house Feb. 12 and 19
Mayer Lutheran High School is having two open house opportunities: Saturday, Feb. 12 and Feb. 19, 9 a.m. to noon both days.
Visitors can tour the school and meet faculty members and future classmates.
People who can’t make it can call director of admissions Kris Gustin at (952) 657-2251 ext. 303 to arrange a personal visit.