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RPS budgets $3M for Globe building renovations

March 23, 2017 GMT

Rochester Public Schools is looking to pour about $3 million into its most recent purchase, the former Globe University/Minnesota School of Business site in Rochester.

The district moved to scoop up the 45,000-square foot building, located at 2521 Pennington Drive Northwest, in February, after the regional for-profit college announced in December that it would shutter all of its Minnesota locations.

The district purchased the building for $5.1 million, in hopes of consolidating most of the district’s early childhood education classrooms into one site. The building could hold up to 16 early learning classrooms and could open by next January.

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To complete renovations and pay for the building, the school board approved the sale of $8.4 million in certificates of participation Tuesday night — which would mean investing about $200 per square foot into the building, said John Carlson, director of finance for RPS.

One of the district’s priorities has been to consolidate its early childhood classrooms into one site, so that it can free up that additional space at the elementary schools, where there are capacity issues, Carlson said.

Even after the district’s conversion of a formerly-closed school district building, Burr Oak, to usable space as Mighty Oaks Learning Center last year, there were still 17 early childhood classrooms spread throughout the district.

A trustee will hold the title until the building is paid for in 15 years, Carlson said. The commissioner of education would give the district authority to levy for this, which would increase the school portion of a taxpayers’ bill by about $10 per year.

The district hopes to approve the sale of the certificates of participation on April 18, with the closing date set for May 31.

Construction and renovation of the building would happen this summer and fall, and the building would likely be open in January 2018.