Two St. Paul schools that were slated to have new homes next fall now are expected to stay in their current buildings for at least another year.
Tom Parent, the district's facilities director, told the school board this week that complications in talks involving one of the school sites will require pushing back the proposed relocations of Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Academy and RiverEast Elementary and Secondary to the 2018-19 school year.
The district is planning to move RiverEast from Highland Park to a former industrial site on the North End, and to relocate Jie Ming from the Hamline-Midway area to the current RiverEast building.
First, however, the district must negotiate the removal of a deed restriction that bars nonindustrial uses on the North End site, and that has taken longer than expected, Parent said.
The district also must remove ground contaminants. To that end, it has won approval from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for its cleanup plan and also is working with the city to secure $200,000 in state funding for the remediation work, Parent said.
The total cost of the RiverEast project is expected to be $20 million. RiverEast is a school for students who are in need of mental health services.
Jie Ming, which now shares a building with Hamline Elementary, opened in 2011-12 with kindergarten only and has added a grade per year. Now it is a K-5 program. In each of the past two years, all of its third-graders have tested proficient in math on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) exams.
Parent said that keeping Jie Ming at its current site will require about $200,000 to $250,000 in renovations to the Hamline Elementary building.