A few wrinkles aside, things are off to a good start for Grand Forks Public Schools’ lease in the Herald building, district staff said Monday.
At a facilities committee meeting Monday night, Chris Arnold, the district’s director of buildings and grounds, said he met last week with a teacher and two paraprofessionals working in the space.
“They’re very happy,” Arnold told committee members. “They love the space. It’s very tranquil. It’s also very bright and open. I know they’re pretty excited about it for the students.”
In January, the district approved a two-year lease to lease space in the Herald building at 375 Second Ave. N. for the student transitional education program, or STEP.
The STEP program is aimed at helping students with special needs transition back into traditional classrooms.
The district is paying more than $30,000 per year to lease the space.
Arnold noted that the district is working through an internet-access related “snafu” at the building, along with some general accessibility issues.
“Overall, it’s a great project, and we’re pretty comfortable,” Arnold said.
Whether the district will renew the lease when it ends in January 2021 remains unclear. Associate Superintendent Jody Thompson previously told the newspaper that a planned expansion of the Ruth Meiers Adolescent Center could eliminate the need to rent space at the Herald.
After Monday’s meeting, facilities committee member Cynthia Schabb noted the two projects are “very separate.”
Meanwhile, the facilities committee made a motion to clarify a previously approved plan to exchange seven downtown parking spots for a $120,000 donation.
Last month, the committee unanimously approved amendments to a land exchange contract with Hugo’s and Pure Development to give up seven additional spots for a downtown development project.
At Monday’s meeting, the committee approved a motion to ensure that the $120,000 donation is reserved to develop surface parking alone.