ST. JOSEPH - The St. Cloud Area School District is seeking an extension of their lease to allow them to keep early childhood programs at Colts Academy in St. Joseph for a little longer.

The district is hoping for an extension until their new early childhood building is done on the Discovery school property. Their current lease at the Colts site ends in July, 2017. They're hoping to have their new early childhood building finished by summer 2018.

St. Joseph City Administrator Judy Weyrens says the city council discussed possible terms to extend the lease during their Monday night meeting.

"[The council] did not approve the lease last night, not because they don't want to extend it but because they want to go back and talk about the monetary rent payment for the facility."

Weyrens says the district currently doesn't pay the city a per-month rent for the facility. District 742 would like to extend their lease by one year. However, there is the possibility they could vacate the site earlier.

"They may not need it, so at any time when they're ready: they can vacate the site. So, we're really talking about from July 1st to until they move into their new facility."

City documents say as part of the lease extension, the district agreed to participate in tax abatement for the County Manor Senior Campus development in St. Joseph. Their participation provided $145,000 to help offset costs.

St. Joseph is turning the Colts site into a community center after the district leaves. On Monday, the city council did approve conversations with HMA Architects to create designs for what the community center would look like.

The building is at 124 1st Avenue SE.

District 742 approved funding for a $17.5 million early childhood facility near Discovery Community School in Waite Park in late July. They have been searching for a permanent home for early childhood education since a fire heavily damaged the Roosevelt building in the summer of 2014. The programs were temporarily moved to Colts Academy.