The District 196 School Board, at its Aug. 13 meeting, approved the purchase of a 34-acre parcel of land in Rosemount as a possible site for a new elementary school.
The land is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Bonaire Path and Akron Avenue, east of Highway 3 and north of County Road 42. The purchase agreement with Rosemount Farms Joint Ownership Group is approximately $3.2 million, based on usable acreage.
The land is being purchased because the administration anticipates the need for additional school capacity within the next five years to accommodate new residential development in the southern and eastern portions of the district.
District enrollment grew by nearly 500 students last year, to almost 29,000, and could reach as many as 34,000 students in the next 10 years, according to demographic consultant Hazel Reinhardt. Based on conversations with city planners, Reinhardt said the district could have 1,300 new, single-family detached homes in the next three years. The bulk of this new development will take place in Lakeville and Rosemount, including the 4,800-acre UMore Park property that the University of Minnesota has started to sell to developers.
The new district land is located directly north of UMore Park. It is being purchased with funds remaining from the $180 million bond and capital projects levy referendum that was approved by district voters in November 2015. All of the projects included in the $130 million bond portion of the referendum have been bid and are under construction or have are already been completed. Approximately $6 million of bond funds remain as a result of careful budgeting, favorable bids and investment earnings on the bonds.
The board authorized the administration to use remaining funds to purchase land for a possible future school site and add classroom space at Deerwood and Woodland elementary schools in Eagan.
Before a new school can be built on the Rosemount site, the district would need to get voter approval for funding. The board had preliminary discussions in July about bringing a bond referendum in the November 2019 election for additional school capacity and other facility needs districtwide.