ST. CLOUD - The St. Cloud Area School District has approved moving ahead with construction plans and creating designs for a $17 million early childhood facility near Discovery Community School.

District 742 has 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 in St. Joseph and the District's lease there expires in July 2017.

The proposed 67,000 square foot building would be a separate building on the west side of the Discovery property. It would also be the long-term home for the District welcome center and community education programs.

Roughly 45,000 feet would be used for early childhood, the rest would be for community education and the welcome center.

Some advantages of the site are that the district already owns the property, it's on a city bus line, the District also has fiber connection for technology and water and sewer are already at the site.

District 742 executive director of business services, Kevin Januszewski listed several possible funding sources for the proposed building:

  • Insurance proceeds from Roosevelt: $6 million.
  • Lease levy with corresponding decrease to long term facilities maintenance levy (no tax impact): $15 million.
  • Proceeds from sale of Colts Academy: $2.3 million.
  • Charge to Community Education (20 yearsx$100,000): $2 million.
  • Grand total from possible funding sources: $25.3 million.

Construction on the building could start next spring with the building opening in June 2018. The school board will still need to approve architectural designs and bids for the project in the future.

Superintendent Jett and school board members have been emphasizing a new and updated facility for early childhood programs for months now.

"I want to see us build a state of the art building. I'm in favor of spending dollars so others can look at our early childhood center as a model across the state," board member Al Dahlgren says.