New Alternative Learning Center in Rochester

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ROCHESTER, MN — While you might not think a fresh look can improve learning, when you are going from a building that was nearly condemned to a refurbished space, things look a lot brighter for everyone.

Kalani Thomas is just one of the students who attended Golden Hill Alternative Learning Center in the past, and memories of that school building are not the most pleasant.

“It was hot, there was no a/c, it was kind of small. Our rooms and gym and everything were just small and old,” Thomas said.

A new and improved gym is just one of the things students will be greeted with when they return to school this fall.

“The building that we were in was very close to being condemned. 1934, a lot of the things in the building were 1934 or circa 1934,” said Gordy Ziebart, Director of Alternative Learning.

So to say the new ALC building is an upgrade might be an understatement.

“For us and for our kids and for our staff, it’s kind of like going from the outhouse to the penthouse,” Ziebart said.

Thomas was one of the students called upon to help decide the layout of the new location. A new daycare area, computer lab and more fill the facility.

“I was helping her plan where everything should go and just see what certain things should go here or there,” Thomas said.

The new school also has a unique history is the fact that it sits in what used to be a furniture showroom.

“The school district bought this existing property and retrofitted it, saving millions of dollars, compared to if we would have built a new school on a property somewhere or even retrofitted the school that we were in or did an addition there, so it saved the taxpayers and the community millions of dollars,” Ziebart said.

The best part, students are excited to get into their new school and get the new year started.

“I actually enjoy it, it’s really spacious, there’s a lot of room, it’s just nice,” Thomas said.

The school district says getting a new ALC facility has been on the top of their priority list for some time. They are just glad they could save some money in the process by using an existing building.

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