The St. Paul School District took the wraps off a facilities study Tuesday that reiterates what officials signaled earlier this year: The state's second-largest school system needs a new middle school.
New to the conversation, however, was the identification of two possible solutions. They include building a new school or converting an elementary school into a grades 6-8 facility.
The second option could, in turn, require construction of a new elementary school, the study states.
How the district goes about addressing the middle school issue will not be known until at least next year, however, when public discussions are planned on all "viable options," school board members were told Tuesday.
Tom Parent, the district's facilities director, said: "We don't know which option is the right one."
The report was the product of more than 18 months of study and is designed to offer a game plan for solving the district's building needs over the next 10 years.
While such studies often are tied to bond requests that then are put before voters, no such proposal was suggested during Tuesday's board presentation. Currently, the district has a $30 million annual budget for facility improvements and construction.
The district also must make room for growing numbers of preschool students -- it would have space for only half of the city's 4-year-olds if the state were to move to universal preschool -- as well as decide the fate of three Hamline Midway area elementary schools: Hamline Elementary, Galtier Community School and Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Academy.
Jie Ming shares space with Hamline Elementary, and is adding one grade per year. The district said the two would outgrow the building if they remained together in 2017-18.
A determination of how best to proceed with the three schools also is not expected until next year.
The district plans to identify the first round of improvement projects under the new plan in March.