ST. CLOUD - The St. Cloud area school district has announced that it will maintain Tech High School's Clark Field for academic use and practice fields.

In a news release, District 742 says the grounds will be restored to accommodate physical education and youth activities. District spokeswoman Tami Deland says irrigation water and electricity will be restored to the field.

Ruth Kaczor with the Friends of Clark Field Group says they're thrilled with the news.

"Our goal now will be to restore this as a varsity venue where soccer, football, lacrosse or any field sport could use it as a playable field."

The Friends of Clark Field are planning to develop an action plan for renovation of Clark Field to serve varsity athletics as well as community team sports and youth activities. Kaczor says the district isn't planning any capital improvements to the field, so the group will discuss potential fundraising options by identifying key partners.

The original proposal to build a $26 million early childhood education, community education, media services and district administration facility on the site has been reconsidered.

"Securing a permanent home for early childhood education remains a top priority for the district," the news release says.

Early childhood programs are temporarily located at Colts Academy in St. Joseph. The lease expires July 2017, after selling the building to the city last year.

The news release says St. Joseph has offered to partner with the district in extending the timeline to allow its referendum review and potential construction of a new early childhood facility.

St. Joseph mayor Rick Schultz says the city would like to know a specific timeline from the district on when they can vacate Colts Academy. He doubts the district will be able to meet the original deadline of July 2017.

"We're still hoping for July 2017 but I don't think it's likely they'll hit the date. We'd like to have a plan in place as soon as possible. We're willing to listen and negotiate to extend the lease if they need it."