The Highwood Hills Recreation Center attached to Highwood Hills Elementary School will remain open for at least a few years, even if the school closes as part of a district plan to shutter and consolidate several schools due to enrollment challenges.

The district intends to honor its lease with the city of St. Paul, St. Paul Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Jackie Turner said during a school board meeting on the Envision SPPS plan Monday night.

"The recreation center will continue to operate and be accessible to the community," Turner said. "I think that wasn't something that was specifically stated last time and there might've been some misunderstanding from the community."

St. Paul Parks and Recreation and the district have a one-year lease agreement effective June 2021, with two one-year renewal options at the Parks' discretion through June 2024, parks department spokesperson Clare Cloyd said in an e-mail.

The city closed the rec center in 2008, one of numerous parks department closures that resulted from the recession. It reopened in 2019.

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