by Dennis Dalman
As of May 1 this year, the Sartell-St. Stephen school district’s Community Education program will operate, manage and staff the Sartell Community Center.
The Sartell City Council at its Feb. 25 meeting voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the school district for that purpose. The school district also voted unanimously to approve the partnership on Feb. 25.
That outcome had long been envisioned from the beginning by the school district and the city as yet another example of an ongoing partnership between the two entities. The school district’s community education program has been involved in the center and its activities since it opened two years ago, including providing some staffing.
In March of 2107, the city contracted with ProFields LLS, based in St. Cloud, to do the lion’s share of managing the center and working out any kinks in operations, policies and scheduling. ProFields is an athletic operations management company based in St. Cloud Now, as agreed to two years ago, that two-year contract will now enter a transition period. From March until May, ProFields staff will train school-district personnel to manage and operate the center.
The center will still be city-owned, said City Administrator Mary Degiovanni at the Feb. 25 council meeting, and the city council will have the option of canceling the contract with the school district.
Council members expressed approval for the new arrangement. Mike Chisum said he previously discussed the management plan with Degiovanni and noted he is very comfortable with it. Sartell Mayor Ryan Fitzthum also said he is happy about. He said he talked with many residents who are in favor of the school district’s involvement. One woman, he noted, said she is very “prideful” of the school staffing personnel at the center.
School board members called the partnership a “win-win” agreement.
“I’m confident,” Fitzthum said, “that it (center) will continue in the same way as the first two years of it being open.”