Groundbreaking launches phase one of North High makeover

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Friday, Sept. 16 at Minneapolis’ North High School for a Career and Technical Education (CTE) center. The event was attended by about 100 community members including the design team for the expansion, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and North High alumni. 

North High and Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) staff, including school board director Sharon El-Amin and interim Superintendent Rochelle Cox, also attended the ceremony. 

“We’re so excited about the potential that [the center] brings and that we’ll really be exploring careers and the educational fields for our students as they make their choices about where they want to go in the future,” Cox said. 

The ceremonial groundbreaking was done by three groups using golden shovels. The first groundbreaking was led by Cox, Frey, and North High Assistant Principal Steve White, with subsequent groundbreakings by employees of LSE Architects (the design team for the CTE center) and a group of North High alumni.

The CTE center will offer courses allowing students to get trade certificates and post-secondary education level courses that will give them college credits towards a two-year or four-year degree. Classes at the center will be available to all MPS students and will include engineering, robotics, drones, computer science, and media arts. 

Some teachers will be moved from other MPS schools to the new CTE center when it opens, causing uneasiness among some teachers. 

Kaytie Kamphoff, a teacher at Patrick Henry High School, expressed concern for the future of “Herobotics,” Henry High’s robotics team. Kamphoff said three teachers would be moving from Henry to the CTE center when it opens.

“I am personally not super excited about losing three of our best Henry High School teachers, two of which are Black CTE teachers, and one is our robotics coach,” Kamphoff said. “Plus, we will be losing our beloved Henry News Hour [due to its advisor transferring to North High], which is in its third season.”

The CTE center is expected to open in August 2023, and its completion will be phase one of a three-phase plan to renovate North High that is expected to go through 2025 with a total cost of $56 million.

“Almost every internal wall is getting touched,” White said regarding the renovation. “Whole renovation. Every ceiling tile, every floor covering, everything.” 

 Amaris Altoro, a current freshman at North High, said she is excited that the renovations will be complete for her senior year. “[The completed concept] looks like a college campus,” Altoro said. “It’s a really great school, and I think it deserves the renovation and a really great exterior.” 

Sam Ero-Phillips, an LSE Architects employee and North High alumnus who graduated in 2001, worked on the CTE center and renovation. Ero-Phillips said his children will be the third generation to take classes at North High, and that it meant a lot to him that they will know he worked on the school. 

“I’ve worked on so many schools, but to work on my former school—I spent four years here going to school—I’m happy that we’re making it happen,” Ero-Phillips said.