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Wayzata School Board Looks to Purchase Land for Possible High School Expansion

A projected increase in enrollment at Wazyata High School has board members and the City of Plymouth talking about an expansion.

Today, roughly 3,200 students attend Wayzata High School. But within the next seven years, school board members say that the school will see an enrollment increase of about 500 students--making for cramped quarters at the high school.

A larger student population has board members thinking about ways to accommodate 3,700 kids.

Throughout the fall, school board members entered into conversations with the owner of the nearby Elm Creek Golf Course--the only available land near the school that could accommodate a potential expansion.

Executive Director of Finance and Business Jim Westrum said that the district is only looking at purchasing between 13 and 37 acres of the golf course land.

At a December Wayzata Public Schools board meeting, school board members directed Superintendent Chace B. Anderson to submit a letter to Brenda Cassellius, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education, summarizing the district’s desire to purchase land for expansion.

It’s standard practice that if the purchase of land exceeded half a million dollars, board members have to contact the Minnesota Department of Education.

“There concurrently exists a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase a portion of the only remaining adjacent land to our High School site which is currently developer controlled and under redevelopment plans,” Anderson said in the letter to Cassellius. “We are in the process of collaborating with the developer to establish a redevelopment plan that results in a win-win for all parties including the City of Plymouth.”
     
Now, Cassellius has 60 days to review Anderson’s commentary and approve or deny the preliminary plans. Westrum said that next steps include the appraisal of the land, negotiation of price and the preparation of a potential purchase agreement.  

Westrum said that if the high school does undergo an expansion, any additional space would be added to the current building. The land purchased would be used to re-build parking lots or school fields.

After receiving feedback from the Minnesota Department of Education on Feb. 17, the ISD 284 school board will move into next steps in March, Westrum said.

Dave Haas January 16, 2013 at 06:59 PM
What is missing here is the cost and the fact that the district would be selling 18 acress of land that in 2002 was "good enough" for a new elementary school, but now apparently is not, and that the district will be coming to voters as soon as this fall for the difference between the two properties ($4.4 million est.) - Also this will put the district further behind the 8 ball in terms of elementary school needs - in that they will now have to acquire more expensive land for a future elementary school on the north side of Plymouth.
Valerie Engler January 16, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Thank you, Dave! We just uploaded a copy of the letter sent to Commissioner Cassellius, which says that the purchase cost of the land is valued at up to $7.4 million.
Chris Peplinski January 17, 2013 at 05:42 PM
This could lead to a hefty increase in property taxes for Plymouth residents.

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