The Gardner School of Edina is a Top Project of 2017

Shingobee is pleased to announce that The Gardner School in Edina, MN, has been named one of 2017’s Top Projects by Finance & Commerce. Shingobee provided a complete renovation of an aging industrial building that had been sparsely occupied for the last ten years. The renovation and conversion to a handsome, contemporary preschool/childcare center revived the building and significantly improved its appearance in an office/industrial area of Edina.


Top Projects is an annual awards program hosted by Finance & Commerce, a Minnesota business daily newspaper. Project entries are judged by a panel of experts in construction and related industries, and honorees are selected based on their degree of difficulty, creativity in design, innovative construction techniques, cooperation among contractors and management, and sustainability efforts. Winning projects were celebrated at a July 26 ceremony at the Nicollet Island Pavilion, and will be featured in the Top Projects of 2017 series in the Finance & Commerce newspaper.Top Projects of 2017 - FINANCE and COMMERCE

Gardner School Play Space


Shingobee completed The Gardner School renovation in July 2017. The design of the renovation made economical use of the existing 20,050 square foot building by retaining the building footprint, existing shell, and many of the exterior windows. Because it was originally used for television production, there were unique interior spaces with elevated roof decks that provided over 2,000 square feet of indoor play space, allowing the children the opportunity to enjoy plenty of exercise and activity in the winter months.




The building interior was completely demolished and rebuilt, and its main entrance was relocated from the north side, facing busy 77th Street, to the west side, facing the parking lot. The site and parking areas were restored, and an elevated playground area and safe exterior walkways added. Upscale finishes were added to the exterior of the building, including stone, cedar shake shingles, sun shades above windows, sconce lighting, soffits with wood corbels and recessed lighting, which transformed it from a basic, 1960’s era industrial building to a distinguished, upscale residential appearance.


Extension Playground Construction


In addition to the age of the building, the site presented design challenges because it is located in a floodplain for a creek and wetland located adjacent to the site. All existing grades were required to remain as is. But with many of the parking areas and sidewalks having settled up to six feet since the building’s original construction, an outdoor play area was designed and constructed as an elevated platform outside of the floodplain. Both the elevated playground and sidewalks around the rear of the building were constructed with space below to accommodate seasonal flooding. The reinforced concrete playground required piers extending more than 100 feet deep to support the structure in peat soil resulting from millions of years of decayed vegetation in the area.


Gardner School Extension


The Gardner School’s choice to renovate and repurpose an outdated industrial building for one of their first facilities in the Twin Cities metro area demonstrated a unique, courageous choice that has provided a great benefit to the area in which it resides. The challenges of demolishing interior concrete block and load-bearing walls, coupled with the difficulties in constructing a foundation for the elevated playground in organic soils, made for challenges over and above the typical renovation of a building.


Close cooperation and communication among the owner, architect, engineers, Shingobee, and subcontractors afforded quick resolution of issues as they arose throughout the complex renovation, and resulted in a very successful conclusion to the project. Congratulations to the entire team!


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At Shingobee, we are willing to think outside the box and employ the best possible method for each construction project. From project management to commercial construction, we value innovative approaches and quality workmanship. Give us a call to discuss how we can help with your commercial contractor needs at 763-479-1300, or you can message us at