The school district is hoping to use proceeds from the sale of two buildings to finance construction and maintenance needs at other schools.
The state's largest school district is putting up "for sale" signs for the first time in decades.
The Anoka-Hennepin district has announced that it plans to sell two of its buildings: the former Champlin Elementary School and the district administration building in Coon Rapids.
It's the first time since at least the 1970s that the district has been in the position of trying to sell buildings.
"This is new territory," said Chuck Holden, Anoka-Hennepin chief operations officer. "My whole career we've been building schools. Now, we're scaling back."
The decision to sell the two buildings is the byproduct of downsizing that resulted in the closing of eight schools last year, all due to declining enrollments.
In the process, the district was able to save $3.1 million a year by closing the schools.
The district's enrollment grew rapidly in the 1990s, then stabilized before starting to slip a few years ago.
Holden said the district has used much of the space in the closed schools to house programs that had been in leased buildings or portable classrooms. Champlin Elementary, which opened in 1939, is currently being used for storage.
As for the administration building, called the Educational Services Center, the plan is to move operations to an Anoka location that has a warehouse and some administrative offices. An attractive feature of the move, Holden said, is that it will consolidate the district administration in one location.
"We're downsizing administration space and gaining efficiencies by doing that -- less travel time, that sort of thing."
The Educational Services Center has housed district administrative offices for 34 years.
Holden said the district had given no thought to leasing the two buildings. That's because district officials want to use proceeds from the sales to pay for construction and maintenance costs that might arise in the district, and didn't want the responsibilities and costs of being landlords.
Holden said it is unclear what kind of price the two buildings might fetch. "We really don't have any figures even in mind yet."
He said, though, that district officials already are planning the administration building move and hope to be in the Anoka site by next summer.
Norman Draper • 612-673-4547