Winona State University could receive nearly $6 million for a new facility dedicated to teaching.
The money comes from a $1 billion bonding bill that passed through the legislature Friday. The university is looking to create an 'Education Village,' that will focus on preparing the future teachers at Winona State for the classroom of tomorrow.
Winona State was the first teacher preparation college west of the Mississippi River. University officials said the campus was once nationally and even internationally known for its education program.
Now, with state funding, the university wants to reclaim that recognition.
"The idea behind the 'Education Village' is to prepare teachers for the 21st century, to really reform teacher education," Winona State President Scott Olson said.
Wabasha Hall, Wabasha Rec Center and the former Cathedral School will be home to the new 'Education Village.'
Olson said the village will give all students in the education major more opportunities to become involved in classrooms.
"Even as a first year student, sophomore, junior, all the way through give them progressively more responsible student teaching opportunities and experiences so they really get the flavor for it so they can decide if it's right for them or not," Olson said.
Winona State is not working alone on this project. It is collaborating with four area school districts to design a facility that will prepare teachers of tomorrow
"Of course we're here to serve students, we're also here to serve the communities of southeastern Minnesota that rely upon us. Listening to what those superintendents are saying about 'This is really, 10 years from now, the kind of teacher I'm looking for,'" Olson said.
What the three buildings could soon look like is yet to be determined, but what they could soon be used for would put them on the map.
"The ultimate vision of this is to restore Winona State, to restore southeastern Minnesota, western Wisconsin to this state of leading the nation and the world in how we prepare teachers," Olson said.
The first phase of the project is $5.9 million. Next year the university will ask for the remaining $18.7 million, which puts the estimated cost of the project at $24.6 million.
Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill. If he does phase one is the design of the 'Education Village' that is expected to begin this summer.