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Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools Uses Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds to Repurpose Middle School Space | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools


(KNSI) — The Sauk Rapids-Rice School Board says it will be using money from the Federal COVID-19 Relief Fund to repurpose vacant space at Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools was allocated over $7 million in one-time Federal Covid Relief funds, which have been used to implement COVID-19 safety measures such as products and supplies for cleaning and sanitization, gloves, and face coverings. The money was also put toward additional staffing to allow social distancing.

The money the district has left, it says it wanted to use “in a tangible and purposeful way; a way that is meaningful to the academic, social and emotional growth of our students.”

According to a press release, repurposing the vacant space will allow additional physical education space during the school day that can be utilized for extracurricular activities during the spring and fall when the weather does not permit outdoor activities. It will also house a fitness center for middle school students and staff and dedicated space for the district’s gymnastics program. The board says the move also responds to the district’s 2019 facility study, which “advised the district to find ways to utilize the space we have.”

That space was a five-lane swimming pool that closed during the 2008-2009 school year. The Minnesota Department of Education reviewed the proposed project and said the funds couldn’t be used to refurbish the existing pool; they could create additional space for physical education and extracurricular activities. The district says it is cooperating with the Department of Education to find “resourceful and innovative ways” to use the money.

The school board approved an agreement with Wold Architects and Engineering for the project.

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