ST. CLOUD -- District 742 is leaning toward selling the former Wilson School and prefers its current tenant Little Saints Academy, however, they're caught between dual responsibilities.

At the board meeting Wednesday night, several Hester Park neighborhood residents spoke in support of Little Saints Academy, and their desire to see the district sell to them.

The district has to try and balance getting a good return on the sale of the building, and ensuring "neighborhood continuity". Superintendent Willie Jett says this is part of  what's held up the sale for years.

"I know that the board is concerned about the neighborhood. The board is concerned about not just the use that's happening now with little saints, but if little saints were potentially not there [what could replace it]."

Jett says since they started, Little Saints Academy has been a great partner with District 742, and an asset to the neighborhood.

"Little Saints Academy has been a great partner with the district and a great partner in that neighborhood."

The board gave Jett the following direction at the meeting:

  • The board intends to sell the property
  • Discuss a possible sale with Little Saints Academy
  • Talk with district legal counsel about sale
  • Bring numbers to the finance committee
  • Bring final recommendation to full board for vote

The timeline isn't set in stone, but the board hopes the Superintendent and his staff can bring them something by their next meeting. Minnesota law does not require the district to place the building on the open market before selling.

The district has received offers for the site in the past, however, those have fallen through, over zoning concerns. The district has never gotten an official appraisal of the building's value, only opinions based of "similar sales".

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