ST. CLOUD - A proposal to repurpose a portion of Tech High School if a referendum passes this fall would likely cost between $8 to $10 million, according to District 742 Superintendent Willie Jett.

The district unveiled a proposal for the historic site earlier this month if a referendum passes for a new Tech High School this fall. The proposal involves repurposing the 1917 and 1938 sections of the school for the district administrative offices and welcome center. It would also call for the demolition of supporting structures to provide off-street parking needed for the repurposed building. The remaining portions of the building, including the media services site, would be put up for sale.

Jett says this proposal would allow them to maintain a presence in the Lake George neighborhood if a new Tech is built on 33rd Street South.

"We're going to have another conversation with the neighborhood in September. We looked at it as advantageous for the district if we can do that, having the offices and welcome center be centrally located."

Jett says after the referendum failed last year, they conducted listening sessions with the community. A common theme found was concern with the future of the current Tech site. A sub-committee was then created to come up with a proposal to re-purpose Tech.

The committee included Mayor Dave Kleis; Teresa Bohnen, President of the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce; Patti Gartland, President of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation; Henry Gruber, a local business owner; and Mike Gohman, President of Gohman Construction.

The proposal was created to provide a possible answer for the district maintaining a presence in a central part of town.

Jett says if the district offices were moved from their current spot, it would also give them more space to improve their career and technology education programs at Apollo High School.

District 742 Business Services Director Kevin Januszewski says funding for the repurposing of Tech could come from the sale of Colts Academy ($2.3 million), insurance money from the Roosevelt fire ($5.2 to $7 million) or health and safety building funds ($1.5 million). He also mentioned the possibility of money being available from the possible future sales of Clark Field, the Wilson Site or the District Media Services building.

Jett says the board of education finance committee is currently going over the proposal and its financial options, which would still need approval from the school board.

The District originally planned to have their welcome center at the Discovery site in the new early childhood facility being built there. Jett says taking the welcome center out of that project will save them money and give them space for other programs.

REFERENDUM INFORMATION:

St. Cloud area voters will be going to the polls on November 8th to decide on whether to build a new Tech High School and upgrade Apollo High School.

The ballot will have two questions. The first asks for $104.5 million for a new Tech High School on 33rd Street South. The second question asks for $38.75 million to repair, renovate and upgrade Apollo High School.

Question one would need to pass in order for question two to pass.