Though still in the very preliminary stage of development, St. Cloud Area School District 742 is moving forward with a development plan that would include adding 10 classrooms, a cafeteria, a gymnasium and potential space for science, music and art classrooms at Clearview Elementary School in Clear Lake.
St. Cloud Schools Plan Includes Clearview Expansion
Clearview Principal Sheri Rutar confirmed Thursday that the proposed expansion has been before the school board finance committee, and was among the items on the agenda for the board meeting Thursday night.
Board Chairman Gerald Von Korff said this week that the board was moving forward on the project in this early stage to give the administration approval to “start the preliminary work” of contacting parents, determining actual costs and “doing a lot of listening” to the opinions and wishes of district residents.
The project would not require a public vote, according to a statement attributed to district director of business services Kevin Januszewski in a St. Cloud Times article last week. The expansion projects, along with a major health and safety expansion, would be financed through a combination of general obligation bonds and certificates of participation that would total $60,025,000, according to documents presented at the Thursday board meeting.
Figures described as “very preliminary” showed a total of $4,500,000 for the Clearview expansion program, along with $3,500,000 each for expansions at Kennedy and North Junior High School, and $500,000 for an expansion of the kitchen at Apollo High School. The overall project cost for all schools is anticipated to be $12,000,000.
In the health and safety area, the proposed program would also include conversion of the existing boilers from steam to hot water at Clearview, at an anticipated cost of $5,000,000. Eight other St. Cloud schools would have similar conversions done, with a total cost to the district of $46,000,000.
Von Korff said the potential renovations would be costly, but that all would contain major savings in energy efficiency. A decision to proceed with the project would also be heavily influenced by the opinions of district residents.
Clearview currently makes use of two “portables”, structures separate from the main school building that now house four classrooms, Rutar said. Those facilities now house some of the fifth and sixth grade classes at the school which currently has more than 600 students in grades pre-kindergarten through grade six.
The expansion is especially important for Clearview now that the five-year lease on the temporary classrooms is coming to an end. “We have no space for more classrooms in the existing building,” Rutar said.
If the project is approved, construction could begin as early as the spring of 2015, with completion at Clearview in time for the opening of the school year in the fall. Expansion would also mean addition of seventh- and eighth-grade classes there, with the seventh-grade program starting in 2015 and eighth-grade in 2016.
Rutar said that there will be opportunities for public comment on the expansion program in the future, but that the project is in such an early stage that those provisions have yet to be worked out.