Weeks after putting major building renovations on hold, the St. Paul school district is considering moving forward with a small group of projects that underwent some design work.
Just two, however, match the scale of the ambitious makeovers that sent costs soaring and triggered a recent monthslong review of the district’s facilities-management practices.
They involve improvements to two East Side schools: Frost Lake Elementary and American Indian Magnet, the latter of which serves students from preschool to eighth grade.
Superintendent Joe Gothard told school board members last month that they likely will be asked to vote on the projects — along with the bond sale to finance them — at their Dec. 17 meeting.
But in a nod to the concerns raised over the first wave of projects, he said he was being cautious, as well.
“You need to hear me out: I will have no problem slowing this down if I feel that we’re not making the right kind of traction,” Gothard said.
His comments came in a meeting during which he also stated that the district may have about 950 fewer students, generating less revenue than a year ago. Enrollment, in turn, could influence which buildings are improved and when.
“We want to make sure that we’re making really wise investments,” Gothard said.
Board Member Jon Schumacher said the district also must be sure to tell individual school communities how they fit into what is to be a long-range plan to fix and improve facilities citywide. People should not think they’re “being left out of the lottery,” he said.
The projects expected to be submitted to the board this month include:
American Indian Magnet School
Neighborhood: Dayton’s Bluff
Features: Four-story learning addition plus new administrative and event spaces
Estimated cost (2016): $29 million
Estimated cost (2019): $38.5 million
District Service Facility
Neighborhood: St. Anthony Park
Features: Renovation of central kitchen plus conversion of warehouse and cooler areas into offices
Estimated cost (2016): $8.6 million
Estimated cost (2019): $15 million
Frost Lake Elementary
Neighborhood: Greater East Side
Features: Renovation of learning spaces plus kitchen and administrative additions
Estimated cost (2016): $16.8 million
Estimated cost (2019): $25.5 million
Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet
Features: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacement plus playground and parking lot improvements
Estimated cost (2016): $3.7 million
Estimated cost (2018): $5 million
Washington Technology Magnet
Neighborhood: North End
Features: Artificial turf field plus roof and running track replacements
Estimated cost: Not available