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BEA High School still looks new

By Staff | Mar 17, 2013

I can remember the first time I saw the Blue Earth Area High School.

I was pretty impressed.

It looked pretty new.

Shortly after I became the editor of the Faribault County Register, I was given a tour of the facility and I was even more impressed.

It seemed to be well planned out and very functional.

The commons area, leading one way to classrooms, another way to the arts, and a third way to the gymnasium looked very well thought out.

Same thing for the media center and the way it is centrally located with classrooms surrounding it.

Very innovative, I thought. Students always have access to the media center from many of the classrooms.

Reminded me a little of a college atmosphere.

Instead of the library being tucked away in a corner somewhere, it is right in the center of everything.

Makes a lot of sense. And, it is one of many things about the BEA High School which made me think the facility was not very old.

Since then I have learned the building isn’t really new. It is actually 20 years old.

But, it has stood the test of time well. Like me, people who see it for the first time wonder if it isn’t a new facility.

It isn’t. But as the front page story details, it is at least all paid for.

Probably when voters said OK to a 20-year bond referendum to build it, 20 years seemed like a long time down the road.

Sort of like home buyers taking out that 30-year mortgage and thinking they will be making payments forever, and then suddenly one day it is paid off.

Anyway, I wasn’t around here 20 years ago, but I think a tip of the hat is due to those who were here and worked on the school project.

I would think it wasn’t easy.

I’m sure it took a lot of hard work, gumption, guts, foresight and some excellent negotiation skills to get it done.

Kudos to anyone involved.

Here are some fun and interesting facts I discovered while doing the research on the BEA High School. Well, I find them interesting anyway.

Did you know:

It took 3,200 cubic yards of concrete to build the school, enough to fill 11,753 55-gallon drums.

There are 70,000 bricks and over 150,000 concrete blocks used in the school. That would be enough to pave a bicycle trail from here to St. Peter.

There is 74,000 pounds of sheet metal in the ceilings for duct work, or enough metal to make 1,924,000 soda pop cans.

There is 630 tons of stone ballast up on the roof to hold the rubber sheet roofing in place.

The truss girders in the gym span 123 feet, are eight feet deep and each weigh 18,000 pounds. The girder in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) is 96 feet long, eight feet deep and weighs 28,000 pounds.

There are 234 tons of coolant used in the air system, which is enough to air condition 117 typical-sized homes.

There is over 75 miles of copper wire in the building, to run the security, fire alarm and sound systems as well as for low-voltage power.

There are 794 athletic lockers, 606 student lockers, 572 seats in the PAC, 30 toilet stalls and 128 chalk/marker boards in the school.

Or at least there were when it was built 20 years ago. The chalk and marker boards are probably all being replaced by Smart Boards.

Same thing for the computer lab in the media center.

It was touted as one of the most up-to-date in the state when the school opened in 1994.

But, pictures show it as having computers that we now consider as obsolete and we call them ‘boat anchors.’

Luckily the BEA School Board has done an excellent job of keeping up with technology and maintaining an up-to-date computer lab.

Back in 1994 the school also listed having a pay-phone installed for the students to use.

Do kids these days even know what that is?

While the building has aged a little, its main function has remained the same for 20 years,

Provide a place for the children of the Blue Earth area to receive an excellent high school education.