(OCTOBER 15, 2020) – Minnehaha Academy dedicated its new Bethlehem Amphitheater on Sunday, October 4, named for the church that has had close ties with the school for nearly 100 years.
The school is owned by the Northwest Conference and has been recognized nationally for its academic excellence. Minnehaha educates student in grades pre-K through senior high school.
The new amphitheater is part of reconstruction efforts following an explosion in 2017 that destroyed or made unusable the school’s Upper Campus and killed two employees. The school reopened in 2019.
Donors often have buildings named after them, but the donors, who wanted to remain anonymous for this story, thought it was more appropriate to have the amphitheater named for Bethlehem Covenant said Rick Mylander, transitional pastor at the church.
The school was started in 1913, and the church began as a Sunday school class that met there in the early 1920s.
Five of the school’s eight presidents were members of Bethlehem Covenant. More than 60 church members have served as staff, teachers, administrators, or board members, according to congregation member David Swanson. Twenty-five members worked at the school more than 20 years, including Guido Kauls, who taught German and coached soccer for 44 years.
The explosion killed 47-year-old receptionist Ruth Berg and 81-year-old custodian John Carlson. Carlson was a former student who grew up attending Bethlehem Covenant.