New school taking shape in Tyler, MN

Heartland grant helps city extend utility services to site

The Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (RTR) Public School District will soon have a new home as construction continues on a $35 million facility in Tyler, MN.

The district is a consolidation of three communities in southwest Minnesota. The new school will house students age preschool through 12th grade.

Artist rendering of the new RTR school building currently under construction in Tyler, MN.

Progress has been steady since officials broke ground in October 2019. The goal is to hold classes in the new building in the fall of 2021.

The campus is located on the west end of Tyler on 140 acres which did not previously have infrastructure installed. The city recently extended electrical service to the site to help keep the project on track.

“Electricity had to be installed to the new school site in order for construction to continue,” said Tyler City Administrator Stephanie LaBrune. “We fully support this project because it will benefit the community and we will do our part to help keep it moving forward.”

To ease the city’s cost burden of extending service, officials applied for an economic development grant from wholesale power supplier, Heartland Consumers Power District.

Strong support for new facility

Voters in the RTR School District approved the new school in February of 2019. The election showed about 75 percent turnout with 63 percent voting in favor of the proposal.

RTR Superintendent Dave Marlette credited supporters from throughout the school district for the milestone. “It was much more than just a small group of people. Families from a wide area will be helped by the district’s decision,” he told the Marshall Independent.

The 159,000-square foot building will replace three older buildings: the K-5 elementary school in Ruthton, the 6-8 junior high in Russell and the senior high for grades 9-12 in Tyler.

City support essential to project

RTR will trade its existing school property in Tyler for the new site. The city will take over the current school site and plans to convert it to residential housing.

The city has supported the project from the beginning, seeing the long-term benefits a new facility will bring to the community.

The city received a $5,000 economic development grant from Heartland Consumers Power District to help cover costs for the extension of services. As wholesale electric power provider to the city, Heartland is a partner in community development.

“Schools are the backbone of rural communities,” said Casey Crabtree, Heartland director of economic development and governmental affairs. “The city of Tyler has been instrumental in helping move this project forward and we are happy to play a small part in ensuring a bright future for the RTR school district.”

With infrastructure in place, construction has been able to move forward with little interference. In mid-December, the site manager reported progress on footings and foundations to the RTR school board.

“As we pass the first of the year, we’ll be moving into precast,” said R.A. Morton Site Manager Michael Beach. “The first week or two of January you should start to see some vertical evidence that we’re working.”

A bright future

The school is just one of several major projects underway in Tyler. The city is also working with Avera Health to construct a new medical facility, and is pursuing funding for reconstruction of the sanitary sewer system.

LaBrune believes the school is just the spark the community needs.

“Once the school is built, the outlook for future development is brighter,” she said.


Featured image: Heartland Customer Relations Manager Kelly Dybdahl, right, presents an economic development grant to Tyler City Administrator Stephanie Labrune for help with the school project.