After selling its old Educational Service Center in Coon Rapids to Hmong Alliance Church two years ago, the Anoka-Hennepin School District continued to use a vehicle storage building on the property.
Hmong Alliance Church, 11299 Hanson Blvd., agreed to let the district to continue to use the structure on their property at no cost for two years, but time is up as of January.
For a year, the district hunted around Coon Rapids for a centrally located property to house a new garage, but with no luck.
“It was cost prohibitive, and we still weren’t getting the type of structure we wanted,” said Chuck Holden, chief operations officer.
So the district shifted gears and started looking at building a facility on property in Coon Rapids it already owns.
Land near Eisenhower Elementary School, 151 Northdale Blvd., and Northdale Middle School, 11301 Dogwood St., was chosen, and building began after some finagling with city and county governments.
When Northdale was built, it went up on 7 acres of city property, according to Holden.
“For a number of years, we’ve wanted to correct that situation,” he said. “This gave us the opportunity to negotiate with the city of Coon Rapids.”
A land swap helped the district regain the property that the school and swimming pool is built on in exchange for the expansion of a city holding pond.
A final plat proposal for 79 acres of Anoka-Hennepin and Coon Rapids city properties was approved by the Coon Rapids City Council in September.
Additionally, Anoka County needed land to expand University Avenue. The county paid $110,000 for easement rights in addition to upgrading tennis courts and the parking lot, according to Holden.
“It’s been kind of a long process, but a successful one,” Holden said.
The new maintenance facility, which cost $2.5 million to build, is 14,000 square feet and will be finished by the new year, according to Holden.
“We expect that to be just a state of the art space for many years to come,” he said.
Superintendent David Law surprised Holden at the School Board meeting Dec. 12 when he announced that a committee proposed to name the new facility the Charles D. Holden Maintenance Facility.
“I wholly endorse that recommendation,” Board Chairperson Tom Heidemann said. “You’ve done an outstanding job for Anoka-Hennepin. The operations side is rock solid due to your leadership and it’s very well-deserved.”
Action will be taken on the recommendation to name the facility after Holden at a future board meeting.
“I’m shocked, humbled and surprised all at the same time,” Holden said. “Thank you for the honor. I appreciate it very much.”
Board members led a standing ovation for Holden, who has served as chief operations officer for a decade.