The Free Press, Mankato, MN

St. Peter news

February 3, 2014

St. Peter moves forward with new high school plans

Bond referendum likely to go before voters spring 2015

St. Peter Public Schools officials updated the School Board Monday night during a study session on plans for building projects that would include a new high school.

The $55 million bond proposal has come about due to continued growth in the St. Peter community that has caused overcrowding in the elementary level that will continue to filter up through the grades, said Supt. Jeff Olson.

The district has a projected growth of 1 to 2 percent annually over the next 10 years, which would add about 300 students to the district’s current 1,900 student population.

“We think that number is probably quite conservative,” Olson said.

The district has been working with design firm I&S Group and financial adviser Springsted Inc. to develop preliminary plans for the building projects and financial aspects. The next step, to begin shortly, will be surveying the community regarding potential support for a bond, which the district is hoping to put to voters March 10, 2015.

The 185,000-square-foot high school would be located on the west side of St. Peter near Traverse Road on 84 acres of land the district already owns, said St. Peter Middle/High School Principal Paul Peterson.

The building would have a 700-student capacity, but would have a 1,000-student capacity in the cafeteria and other common areas to allow for growth.

The I&S Group plans also include a 700-seat performing arts space and a three-station gymnasium.

In addition to the building, tennis courts, practice fields, baseball/softball fields and a soccer/football field would be built on the site. Some secondary programs would continue at the current high school facility, including automotive and building trades, among other things.

About 20 acres of land would be left over on the new high school building site for future development.

The other buildings in the district would be reconfigured and upgraded to meet the learning needs of the new grade configurations.

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