In 1858, Winona became home to the first teacher preparation school west of the Mississippi River. Following our sesquicentennial, we began to think about teacher preparation for the 21st century. We intend to integrate the university into the community and its schools, establishing an Education Village near the campus. Fully 20% of WSU students are education majors today, making this project central to the future of our campus.
Our bonding request is a bold, responsive plan to renovate three buildings and environs (Wabasha Hall, Wabasha Rec and the Cathedral School) into an Education Village of the future that will be designed with integrated, flexible, state-of-the-art learning and teaching spaces. Labs, classrooms, offices, meeting and community spaces will take a cohesive, sensible form and provide space for the extraordinary preparation of extraordinary teachers and school professionals.
The project would cost $5.9 million in the first phase and $18.7 million in the second phase. The total cost is estimated at $24.6 million. With this funding, 89,146 sq.ft. will be renovated between the Cathedral Elementary School building (built in 1929), Wabasha Recreation Center (built in the 1920s) and Wabasha Hall (built in the 1950s). We plan to repurpose and reuse old, vacant buildings, renovating them for shared community, school and university usage that will renew the surrounding neighborhood.
The Village in Action
The Village will serve students and faculty in our College of Education departments and in content-area programs such as STEM, communications, health, art, music, social studies, language, international education, physical education, etc. Lab spaces will be designed with observation areas and accommodations for university students and faculty to interact with Pk-12 students and their teachers. There will be specialized areas designed for assistive/adaptive learning.
Village facilities will be equipped with modern technologies, resources and equipment necessary for the preparation of tomorrow’s teachers, counselors, coaches, and educational leaders. As communities change throughout Minnesota, future teachers will require more intentional preparation, support and inspiration.
To ensure that our graduates are prepared to enter into the evolving education system, the Village will:
- Immerse them in daily learning and performance as team members meeting the diverse needs of individual students and communities and working to counteract disparities in the educational system
- Arrange field placements from their first year with progressively more challenging placements each term
- Assign master Pk-12 teachers as mentors to each student early in their program
- Focus senior year around field placements and hands-on work with pupils and teachers
- Support graduates for their first three years of teaching
The Village will leverage WSU’s expertise in technology-rich education to guarantee a dynamic, linked village that is connected to our community, to our partners, and to the world. The Village is adjacent to the WSU main campus, a vacated elementary school and a retirement center, and already includes our child care center in one of the buildings which is establishing the groundwork of the community integration we seek.
The Village plans to:
- Link with families, community members, organizations and businesses to help support future teachers by building an understanding of student and community needs
- Cultivate partner districts in the region and beyond to provide them with the teachers they need by placing our education students in the schools early and often--supported by Pk-12 teachers/university faculty team mentoring--and to let the schools aid in growing their own
- Design, with our partners, mutually beneficial programs including internships and field placements in after-school programs, key kids, tutoring, counseling, mentoring, special education support
- Offer workshops and summer programs for regional teachers to exchange ideas/practices as well as develop new skills and methods
- Host regional educational events such as Model UN, Model Legislature, debate/theater and other competitions and best practice summits