ST. CLOUD -- A proposed early childhood building that would be put near Discovery Community School in Waite Park would cost an estimated $17 million, according to a report to be presented to the District 742 school board Wednesday night.

The 67,000 square foot building would also be the long-term home for the District welcome center and community education programs. Both programs moved into a suite at Midtown Square Mall earlier this year.

Colts Academy building in St. Joseph. (Dan DeBaun, WJON)

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. Roosevelt has since been repaired and is now home to three special education programs. But the early childhood education programs were temporarily moved to Colts Academy in St. Joseph. However, the District sold that building to St. Joseph last year and their lease expires July 2017.

The proposed site for the facility would be on the west side of the Discovery School property. 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.

Superintendent Willie Jett previously said in an interview that the early childhood building wouldn't be combined with Discovery. It would be its own separate facility.

The District considered over 20 sites before narrowing the list to two options. The other area seriously considered was a piece of land by 33rd Street and the Highway 15 interchange. However, this option proved to be more costly. The District would need to spend an additional $3.5 million to buy the land plus spend $2 million more to bring water and sewer to the site.

The report lists 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.

The proposal will be discussed in more detail during the school board meeting Wednesday night. The board is expected to take action on the item.