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Maple Grove Voice

Parnassus Preparatory School Plans Converting, Renovation of Zachary Square Shopping Center

Nov 29, 2016 08:12PM ● By Wendy Erlien

Renovated and updated Parnassus Preparatory School campus proposal. (graphic provided by Parnassus Preparatory School)

When Parnassus Preparatory School opened in August 2011, a growth plan was anticipated. The charter school focuses on providing students with a K-12 classical education grounded in the classical Trivium.

In 2018, the school located off of Zachary Lane, is planning their first graduating class – complete with a renovated and updated campus. Once completed, Parnassus Preparatory School will transform the usage of most of the Zachary Square Shopping Center into their permanent home. 

Over the years, Parnassus Preparatory School has gradually been acquiring additional space in the area known as Zachary Square Shopping Center.

“We have been fortunate to grow in the place – there is plenty of parking, easy highway and bus access,” Director of Academics and Programs Laura Bottenfield said. “It has worked really well.”

“The new [Zachary Square] landlord was really willing to work with us,” Parnassus Preparatory School Academic Community Director Katherine Good said.

 After months of planning, Parnassus Preparatory School received approval from the Maple Grove City Council for the planned unit development concept and development stage plan at their Oct. 17 meeting to convert Zachary Square mall into a school space and adding approximately 32,000 square feet for gym and auditorium for a total of 148,999 square feet. Tender Time Daycare will continue to operate at its location near the school. According to documents provided to the city council, parking remains “sufficient” for China Dragon Restaurant until its departure in 2018.

“The architectural improvements will be striking,” Maple Grove Community Development staff wrote in a memo the council. “The existing exterior skin is in disrepair and will be entirely replaced and will be entirely replaced with a new exterior skin and design elements that reinforces themes of a classical school.”

Some of the highlights of the expansion, according to Bottenfield said, include:

  • A center quad space to tie together the campus with the exterior walkways, enhanced playground, small amphitheater and scholar’s walk
  • Retrofitting the School of Grammar space to include a full gymnasium, separate cafeteria, music, and art rooms
  • Adding a large gymnasium for the Schools of Logic and Rhetoric
  • Space for performances and assembly
  • Additional classrooms for the Schools of Logic and Rhetoric, a cafeteria commons, second science lab, separate music rooms for chorus, band, and orchestra as well as new art rooms
  • Exterior renovations including new surface and insulations, new parking lots and playgrounds, additional green space and landscaping, and improved drop off and pick up spaces

“The newly renovated facility reflects who we are and how we teach and learn,” Bottenfield said.

More than 1,000 students attend Parnassus Preparatory School. 


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