by Dennis Dalman
A space crunch has become a hot topic for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District, and little wonder why as the four schools are now at full capacity.
In the past 15 years, enrollments in Sartell have almost doubled, to nearly 4,000 students currently. According to demographic statistics, Sartell is still a growing city, and the number of enrollments is also bound to increase.
At the last school-board meeting, members approved a contract with the Cuningham Group of Minneapolis and a St. Cloud architect, David Leapaldt so they can begin a facilities-planning process. Leapaldt is senior architect/project manager for IIW Minnesota, which has a partnership with the Cuningham Group. The latter has designed a wide variety of buildings small to large, including schools. Together, Cuningham and Leapaldt are currently working on new school plans for St. Cloud.
The school board unanimously agreed to hire their services for $12,500.
They will work with the Community Schools Planning Committee to create a master plan for Sartell schools, based on a 10-year enrollment projection. The planning committee will be comprised of many volunteer residents with the goal of getting widespread input on which facilities will be needed in the future.
The school board at its last meeting also voted to hire Hazel Reinhart Consulting Services of Edina, which had submitted a bid for the service. The board agreed to pay that firm $5,000 to do a 10-year enrollment study. This firm has done such projections for just about every school district in the state.