St. Cloud District Halts Demolition of Clark Field
ST. CLOUD - The St. Cloud area school district is halting demolition of Clark Field while they mull all other options for a future site to place early childhood education programs.
The district originally had a plan to put in a $25 million building on the field for early childhood education, community education, adult basic education, the district welcome center, media services and the administrative offices.
District 742 superintendent Willie Jett made the announcement after numerous community members reached out to the district, urging them to maintain the field as green space.
"We are not moving forward with the demolition of Clark Field at this time. We will be exploring all options now," Jett told a packed crowd during the school board work study session on Monday night.
During the meeting, school board members asked for other options on where to put the programs. They also requested more time to consider other options and to work with the community, who recently came out in force to oppose the proposed building.
Last week, dozens of community members voiced concerns about the idea of placing a building on the field. They emphasized the importance of a location for early childhood education in St. Cloud, but urged the school board to look elsewhere for the programs to preserve the history and tradition of Clark Field.
The district is now up against the clock to find a long-term future location for their early childhood education programs. A need was created for an early childhood education building when the Roosevelt site, the original home for the programs, was damaged in a fire last summer. The programs were temporarily moved to the old Kennedy building in St. Joseph while the district looked in St. Cloud to build a long-term state of the art early childhood facility.
The district has since sold the building to St. Joseph and needs to vacate it by July 1st 2017. Jett said during the meeting that they need to work fast to find an alternate plan for the programs, or the district will run out of time to create an early childhood facility.
"That decision needs to be made quickly, within the next month. We need to be scouring for a new way to do that [relocate the programs], we need to figure this out ideally before the holidays."
District administration and the school board will now work with community groups to come up with a new plan.
Clark Field opened in 1942 and was closed to Tech varsity football in 2012 due to mold and structural concerns.