Tcgis Building project

Planning for
the future 

The Twin Cities German Immersion School first opened in 2005. It was then and remains now the only German-language charter school in Minnesota and one of only a few nationwide. By the time the school's inaugural class got to 5th grade, the student population at TCGIS was 191 students and rising. We have moved twice already in our short history, and find ourself once again needing more room. We don't plan to grow forever and want to make this next enlargement our last.


Preliminary Renderings

The view from the SE corner of the school's property highlights the cafeteria glazing and increased play area.   The increased daylight in the new cafeteria will be a welcome upgrade from current conditions. The materials are precast concrete panels with red brick inlay, while the metal panels above are the same color and pattern as the 2013 addition. The glazed blue brick between the cafeteria and the 2013 addition is intended to be a backdrop for an art installation. It could showcase work from either known public artists or from TCGIS students. The addition will complement the original school building in height, massing and material selection.

The view from the SE corner of the school's property highlights the cafeteria glazing and increased play area.

The increased daylight in the new cafeteria will be a welcome upgrade from current conditions.
The materials are precast concrete panels with red brick inlay, while the metal panels above are the same color and pattern as the 2013 addition.
The glazed blue brick between the cafeteria and the 2013 addition is intended to be a backdrop for an art installation. It could showcase work from either known public artists or from TCGIS students.
The addition will complement the original school building in height, massing and material selection.

The South view from Oxford St establishes a new and more inviting Como Ave facade.   Two more areas are reserved for public art installations - these could showcase historical markers, art from the community at large, or art from TCGIS students. The glazing at grade level will let natural light into the new gym, which starts 8' below grade.

The South view from Oxford St establishes a new and more inviting Como Ave facade.

Two more areas are reserved for public art installations - these could showcase historical markers, art from the community at large, or art from TCGIS students.
The glazing at grade level will let natural light into the new gym, which starts 8' below grade.

Building Design

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A history of TCGIS’s search for space 

This is a look back at the conversation about the need for more classroom space at TCGIS. If you’d like to know what paths lay ahead for the school, skip ahead to the “Options” section of the website.


At a strategic retreat in 2014, the TCGIS School Board said it was largely satisfied with the space it had at the former St. Andrew’s church at 1031 Como Ave., the school’s home since the 2013-14 school year. The classroom spaces were considered “clean, bright, colorful and modern.”

Under the category of long-range planning, the board studied the possibility of adding a second campus. That idea was eventually deemed unworkable.

In 2015, as more middle school students stayed and the school’s student population grew, the board appointed a task force on Oct. 22 to “research and assess the demand for current facilities and analyze data to consider demand on current facilities.” This was the Student Growth and Access Taskforce, and its members included TCGIS staff, TCGIS parents and one prospective parent.


In February 2016, the Facilities Committee released a report on the coming space crunch at TCGIS. The report said that by the 2017-18 school year, the school’s population would exceed the school’s original design. To accommodate the students, a new room would need to be converted into a classroom each year: first the science classroom, then the computer lab, then flex room 100, followed by flex room 102, and finally, in the 2020-21 school year, the staff lounge. The report also looked at the school’s budget and determined that TCGIS could afford to finance an 18,000 sq. ft. project in the 2019-20 time frame.

A year later, at the January, 2017, board meeting, long and short term space plans were identified as a needed discussion for an upcoming Jan. 28, 2017, board retreat. “Vision by the Board is needed for long term.”


At the February, 2017 board meeting, the facilities committee update included a basic discussion of what’s needed, including a “Wish List” item of replacing the inefficient building with something new. The list was needed to send to Deb Rathman, the architect.

The Facilities Committee continued to look at the school’s space needs at its March 2017 meeting (1) (2), noting at the time that $1.8 million plus the cost of the property would buy the school the classroom and staff spaces it needs, but not the extra gymnasium or cafeteria space.

In April of 2017, the Student Growth and Access Taskforce delivered its final report, a mixed accomplishment that included hard data on some aspects of the issue, but was accompanied by a note from the task force expressing frustration at the process it took part in.

The basic shape of the proposed building plan was taking shape at the April, 2017 meeting (1) (2), when real estate developer Karl Jentoft of the Tensquare Group said a bond issue for $4.8 million was possible. Architect Deb Rathman, who was responsible for TCGIS’s first addition at 1031 Como Ave., said that amount of bonding would fund about 21,000 sq. ft. of construction.

At the May 9, 2017, board meeting, there was little recorded. Karl Jentoft was talking to neighboring properties, hoping to find one that TCGIS could buy. Board member Burkhard Thiessen told the other board members: “We should have a plan, if a property comes up for sale, we should be able to have our ducks in a row and be able to act faster…”

At the June 13, 2017, facilities committee meeting, the committee was still preparing itself to buy properties adjacent to 1031 Como Avenue.

At the Aug. 30, 2017, board meeting, there was no discussion of the facilities committee or the search for a new building.

The September 26, 2017, board packet included basic sketches of several options for more space (option 3 and sketch) (option 7 and sketch) (option 8 and sketch) (option 9 and sketch) (option 10 and sketch), all plans showing TCGIS building on its current footprint.

In its Oct. 10, 2017, meeting (1) (2), the facilities committee included their reviews of the Church of St. Bernard, (about two miles east of TCGIS at 187 Geranium Ave. W.), and the Mission Orthodox Presbyterian Church, (across the street from the Aula at 1040 Como Ave.)

Questions asked of the board included “How do we maximize our space?” “What are the amenities we need?” and “Clarity about the debt we can service.”

Plans to include Mission Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1040 Como Ave., came to an end because the church was not willing to sell.

The Church of St. Bernard’s option was not pursued because a) it was only available for lease; and b) it was not big enough to house the entire school; so c) the cost of a split campus was deemed too high.

The Nov. 14, 2017, Facilities Committee meeting (1) (2) included a review of Metro Deaf School at 1471 Brewster Ave., about one mile west of TCGIS. This opportunity was not pursued due to extremely limited outdoor / playground space and a parking lot that would create an extremely challenging pickup/dropoff scenario for the TCGIS community.


On March 6, 2018, the facilities committee held a “Listening Session” to talk about construction plans. Along with about 25 parents and staff, a representative from District 10 attended the meeting, and afterwards he reported back to District 10 that the school planned to replace the Aula. This was the beginning of some neighborhood opposition to TCGIS plans.

At its March 13, 2018, meeting (1) (2) (3), the facilities committee began sending out paperwork for a proposed building project that included replacing the Aula and building new construction on the school’s footprint. Contractors were interviewed, and architect Deb Rathman began conversations with key user groups of the new building. Also, plans to purchase a house adjacent to the school on Van Slyke were cancelled.

At its April 10, 2018, meeting (1) (2) (3), the facilities committee began more in-depth work related to the proposed building plan of replacing the Aula and building on-site. Some of the issues under consideration included where to hold gym classes during construction and food safety during construction.

The TCGIS School Board sent a letter to the Minnesota Department of Education on April 19 outlining its plans for a new addition, saying it would cost $6.3 million in tax-exempt bonds. The letter, and accompanying documents, spell out the school’s argument that it needs to build a new wing. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

The facilities committee held listening sessions on April 22 to talk about construction plans at TCGIS, and offered a historical recap of the decision.  

The May 8, 2018, facilities committee meeting (1) (2) (3) included discussion about a communication plan, more in-depth planning for construction, following up with neighbors, and the cons of delaying construction.

At the May 23 TCGIS School Board meeting, the facilities committee chair said a new option had presented itself. It was later revealed to be Central Lutheran school at 775 Lexington Parkway North. The school was examined by RJM Construction, which prepared an estimate on what it would cost to upgrade the building for TCGIS.  Original Bid from RJM, Revised bid from RJM and second bid from Rochon.

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Why is change needed?

There are several problems with our current building. First, there's been an unforseen lack of space. The enrollment projections for our current school building have been surpassed by a full section per grade in grades 5-8. Second, TCGIS is experiencing a need for smaller learning spaces, a need currently handled by having staff meet with students in hallways. Third, our growing student population requires two gym classes run at the same time. We meet that need by using the gym and the cafeteria for now, but that option won't be available as we continue to grow. Finally, our cafeteria is very crowded at lunchtime.



The TCGIS Facilities and Finance Committees met jointly on July 17th, 2018 to discuss options to solve the space needs of the school.  Attendance at the meeting included a mix of 40-50 parents and neighborhood residents. The Pro/Hopes and Cons/Fears were gathered from all parties at this meeting. The list is NOT meant to be exhaustive or definitive but reflects viewpoints of those present.  The objective is to listen to the voices of all stakeholders and to share the various points of view regarding the proposed options. Please consider sharing your feedback and ask any questions you might have.


Replace and rebuild at current location

Replace the Aula and construct an addition containing a gymnasium, cafeteria and classrooms within its footprint. While the Aula remains a charming building, after 5 years of usage, our experience is that a purpose-built gym space that maximizes usable space with lower operating costs would better meet our programming needs.  See details of this plan here.  


> Improved student safety:

  • The floor of the Aula has terrazzo directly under the gym floor - it is not constructed like contemporary gym floors - falling on it is similar to falling on concrete.

  • The niches and choir loft provide ample opportunity for an ill-intentioned adult to be alone with a student.

  • The sharp corners and raised floor that remain from the building’s former life injure several students every year.

> Financial and Environmental responsibility:

  • Removes +/- $1M of planned maintenance and upgrades from TCGIS’s budget projections

  • The Aula is essentially uninsulated and is very expensive to heat

  • The ratio of exterior wall to usable square footage is extremely inefficient - stairwells on the east side, the south entry vestibule and the balcony are part of why over 25% of the Aula’s footprint is educationally unusable space.  

  • Cost effective solution

  • Lowers operating costs for school

  • Financial security in building fund and maintain covenants and bonding requirements

> Improves quality of spaces for kids teachers

  • Art can happen in an art room instead of on a cart

  • Special education and ADSIS support can happen in appropriate rooms

  • Physical education can happen in an actual gym

  • More windows

  • Excitement around new facility

  • Maintains integrity of existing program

  • Physical appearance of building would be secular

  • Add more playground space by removing small parking lot next to current playground.

> Accelerated real estate sales

> Cements TCGIS place in the community

> Ability to host community events for Como neighborhood


> Construction disruption on neighborhood, families and staff (Proposed construction timeline June 2019-January 2020)

> A major construction project will create administrative and operational stresses.

> Concern that spending more than $6 million will not add $6 million to the value of the property

> Concern that the current site does not have adequate space for over 600 students and 100 teachers, especially for outdoor activities.

> Delays to project

  • TCGIS might need to apply for variances for parking and lot coverage

  • Neighbors opposed to TCGIS’s project could delay and/or increase cost due to potential legal actions

  • Scheduling impact due to variance delays

  • Variance challenges could impact bonding approval by HRA Board

  • Cost increases due to delays and risks

> Neighborhood relations

  • Potential worsening of relationship between TCGIS and neighbors

  • Traffic concerns remain

  • Divisions among neighbors remain strained

> Building

  • Loss of craftsmanship quality construction

  • Possibly lose architecture by St. Paul architect

  • Neighborhood/parent fear that Aula will be removed and then TCGIS will leave in the future anyway.

  • Loss of history by removing Aula

> Historic designation of building

  • fear that historic preservation would halt option

> Accelerated real estate sales

> No additional outdoor space


Central Lutheran School

Central Lutheran School (CLS) is located at 775 Lexington Parkway, about ¾ mile SSW of the current campus. Built in 1950’s, it is a 3.4 acre site (full city block) with an approximately 27,000sf classroom building. 16 available classroom size rooms.  The earliest TCGIS could move to the Central Lutheran campus would be fall 2019. More information can be found here.

While the goal with this option is to have a single K-8 campus, TCGIS may have to operate a split campus until the Como Ave location sells.  Operating a split campus is financially unaffordable without increasing class sizes and could only be sustained for 2-3 years due to the projected maintenance costs associated with owning multiple old buildings.


> Size of site

  • Rare opportunity to purchase attractively priced full city block in St Paul in close proximity to existing location.

  • The site is large enough that TCGIS could relocate the entire K-8 campus to CLS, contingent upon the sale of the Como Ave location

  • Nearly double the size of our current campus with enough green space for a playground + regulation athletic field.

  • Larger playground provides noise buffer

> Proximity

  • Close to TCGIS

  • Close to Central High School

> Gym

> It is for sale

> Based on current Letter of Intent to Purchase, Central Lutheran is available to TCGIS at a competitive price.

> Nice stage

> Neighborhood impact

  • Splitting buildings eases traffic in Como neighborhood

  • Good-will building with Como neighborhood

  • Avoids negative Como neighbor response to other option

  • Not having construction at Como park

> Higher visibility on Lexington Parkway

> Clear main entry at CLS

> Potential to provide similar Pro/Hopes as replacing Aula regarding programming, special education, art, gym, drama, safety, energy efficiency, etc.


> Leaving Como neighborhood

> A major construction project will create administrative and operational stresses.

> The existing CLS building has 16 classrooms and 27,000sf. TCGIS needs approximately 35 classrooms size rooms and approximately 75,000sf.

> A split campus may be possible for 2-3 years, with K-5 at the current Como Park site and grades 6-8 at CLS...but a split campus is projected to increase TCGIS’s operating expenses by approximately $175,000 annually.  Current estimates show that TCGIS will go from an operating surplus of +/- $200K to a surplus of $5-20K the first year; after that with no changes, TCGIS will have negative operating budget the following year (by law, TCGIS cannot have a negative operating budget). Operating expenses pay for things like books, field trips, and (most importantly) teacher salaries and benefits.  See in-depth budget info here. Temporarily increasing class sizes from 24 to 25/26 kids until the school is back together on one location is one way to make this option work.

> Owning two sites

  • If we can’t sell the Como Ave location, TCGIS is stuck with two campuses, which cannot be sustained without increasing class sizes.

  • Sale price of Como Ave location could be too low and not fit within our timeline.

  • Maintenance fees/rehab costs at CLS are estimates and could be higher than expected.

> Split Campus

  • Increasing class sizes to afford split campus (25-26 kids per class)

  • Impact to staff morale and retention

  • During the split, older kids and younger kids won’t interact

  • Impact to kids

> It is not for sale forever

> Transaction costs of buying a different property reduce money available for building improvements and upgrades

> Fear of unknowns

  • This is a new option and projections are based on assumptions

  • New lease aid rules could impact lease aid available to TCGIS

  • Unknown future construction cost risk of CLS

  • May need parking variance - only 10 spots there

  • Unknowns of a new site

  • Risk of not being able to build on CLS

  • Risk of not being able to abate ALL hazardous material

>Accessing CLS from Lexington is restricted by turn lanes and the median


Make no changes to current campus

Aula and classroom building would remain in current configuration.


> We would have the option to thoughtfully and strategically keep the numbers from growing until we stabilize teacher and EA retention and address learning issues with students.

> Spend on classroom building to improve temperature control

> Neighborhood is happier

> Potential future preservation of Aula

> Maintain historic character of neighborhood

> No construction disruption

> Showing how a school can use a historic building

> Could make more playground space


> Fear of sustaining operations in building without enough space

> Families leave because limited space

> Teacher/Staff morale suffer

>Negative impact on future bond ratings

  • Teacher retention

  • Dwindling waiting list

  • Increases financing costs

> Negative impact on student learning

  • Special education and ADSIS support continues in inadequate spaces
  • Poor phy-ed space in Aula/cafeteria

  • Art on a cart

  • Lunch time starting early (10:45am), lunch time too late (12:55pm)

  • Aula bathrooms limited

  • Aula inadequate performance space

> Maintenance estimates could be higher than expected

> Historic preservation increases administrative costs and responsibilities (monitoring work, writing grant applications, increased need for architectural or historic consultants)

> Wasted spaces remain (bell tower, choir loft, stairwells)

> Unsafe areas of Aula remain (niches, choir loft and hard floor)

> Existing traffic concerns remain

> Potential decrease in property value if historically designated

> Potential worsening of relationship between TCGIS and neighbors

> TCGIS leaves neighborhood and site is vacant



Please use this Google form to submit your questions and comments. Danke!

Q. What was the school’s original design?

A. The construction project that linked the former St. Andrew’s school to the former St. Andrew’s church building created a school designed to hold three classes in each grade through 4th and two sections in grades 5 through 8.

Q. Why have we had space problems?

A. The school used to see smaller classes, especially among older students, but retention rates for the upper grades have increased. This means that TCGIS has to add more sections in order to keep class sizes appropriate and manageable. For example, until 2017/18, the middle school had class sizes that enabled creative solutions such as combining 7th and 8th grades for sport and drama. The class of 2018 was 34 kids = 2 x 17 classes. The classes of 2019 and 20 are 46 and 50 respectively. The class of 2021 is around 60 students, so while smaller per section (3 @ 20 each) it still needs three classrooms (instead of two) per class period to function.

In addition to higher retention rates, the school has had an easier time filling open spots in grades beyond Kindergarten. The school estimates it will need four additional classrooms to accommodate growth.

Q. Could the school accommodate all students within its current footprint, without additional construction?

A. Technically yes but practically no: remaining within the current facility without renovation will have severe implications for students, faculty and staff. A February 2016 report from the Facilities Committee outlined how this would occur, noting that it was possible but would cause difficulty. For example, the changes would include converting Room 100 (the conference room currently used for occupational therapy) into classrooms, and the staff lounge would need to be converted into another classroom for the 2020-2021 school year. Since the 2016 report, the Facilities Committee has concluded that the suggested changes are simply not feasible: TCGIS needs to add space for classrooms, special education, small group breakout sessions, and teacher/staff development. In particular, the need for smaller learning/breakout spaces has become more pronounced, as has the estimated impact of asking teachers and staff to do more with less.

Q. What is student population, and population projections?

A. The 2017-18 student population at TCGIS was 545 students. The amount of state aid the school receives is based on this number, but older students count for slightly more state aid than younger students. For state aid calculations, the number of “pupil units” at TCGIS in 2017-2018 was 560. By the 2020-2021 school year, it’s estimated that the school population will be 620, and the pupil units will be 645.

This growth of the student population means more money for TCGIS in the form of state lease aid. Most of the lease aid goes to pay bills, but there’s a leftover amount each year, and as the student population grows, the amount of extra funds for TCGIS grows, too. By 2020-2021 this amount is estimated to be over $300,000. This is the money the school would use to finance more borrowing for another construction project. The Facilities Committee in 2016 estimated this would be enough for an 18,000 square foot project. Since 2016, the Facilities Committee has determined that an addition of 22,000-24,000 square feet (or 4,000-6,000 beyond the 2016 estimate) will meet TCGIS’s needs.

Q. How has the school addressed its space needs?

A. The school board created a panel in 2016 to examine the school’s space needs. This was the Student Growth and Access Taskforce. At the same time, the Facilities Committee was looking at the same issue, and produced a report of its own in 2016.  

Q. What other options has the TCGIS school board considered?

A.  Among the alternate locations considered by the Facilities Committee, the former Metro Deaf school was inspected but ultimately ruled out because its parking was inconvenient. The school building has one road in and out of the parking lot. Located on Energy Park Drive, the school requires all cars and buses to pull into its parking lot for drop-off and pickup. It also has very little outdoor space.

The Facilities Committee also looked at the former St. Bernard’s school. It was eventually dismissed as an option because it was only available for lease and not large enough to house the entire school.

The Facilities Committee is currently in negotiations with Central Lutheran for the purchase of their building.

Q. What are the pros and cons of a split campus?

A. Pros and cons can be found in the Options section of this site and to Appendix J of Student Growth and Access Taskforce report.)

Q. What are the estimates of costs associated with a split campus model using Central Lutheran?

A. The first bid for renovation from RJM Construction is $3.4M. This would cover new floors, paint, HVAC, lights/electrical, new windows/doors and fire sprinklers. The Facilities Committee has worked with that contractor to reduce the bid, and has also solicited a bid from a second contractor. The bid is for renovation only and does not include the cost of purchasing Central Lutheran. The purchase cost remains confidential.

Some potential additional costs include asbestos abatement (floor tiles containing asbestos should be removed) for $400,000; Geothermal heat pump system work for $655,860; additional wall insulation for $437,000 (possibly required by new energy code) and $191,000 for the removal of a 20-year-old underground fuel tank.

The Facilities Committee asked RJM to review these estimates and determine if staging the work could lower the initial costs; the Facilities Committee is looking for a $1 million reduction from HVAC, electrical and bathroom work.

TCGIS has also received a second bid for the work at CLS for approximately $2.5M. That bid does not include full asbestos abatement.

While TCGIS appears to have the bonding capacity to finance the capital upgrades at CLS, it doesn't have the needed funds to maintain the Como Ave building while simultaneously completing the CLS work. The increased operating costs of a split campus will be much harder without increasing class sizes to 25/26 per classroom. The TCGIS Board and Finance Committee have worked hard to create an annual surplus in the school's operating budget; the cost of operating two campuses will erase that surplus within 2 years.

Q. What is the cost of duplicating services necessary to run a split campus model? (For example, copier costs, janitor, etc.)

A.  The current estimate is that operating expenses would increase by approximately $175k annually.  

Q. If TCGIS proceeds with razing the Aula to make space for a new addition, could some features of the Aula be repurposed?

A. The Facilities Committee asked RJM Construction of Golden Valley to prepare a list of cost estimates for saving or reusing various pieces of the Aula. According to RJM:

  • Saving two pallets of bricks and roof tiles cost $10,000

  • Saving the bell tower would cost $1.5 million (and would put a bell tower in the middle of the new gym and classroom addition)

  • Saving/reusing rose window would cost $150,000

  • Saving/reusing the doorway arch stonework would cost $55,000

  • Saving/reusing the tan corner stones would cost $50,000

  • Saving the south facade would cost $600,000 (but would reduce the size of the gym and classroom space)

Q. Is it possible to sell our current location?

A.  Yes. The Facilities Committee has contacted commercial realtors specializing in educational facilities to explore this option.

FAQs Part 2 / Updated Friday, July 27

Q. Why do your class sizes have to be so small in middle school? Most public schools have at least 30 per class. You should add a few kids to those upper grades to make more money.

A. The TCGIS Board’s position is to keep class sizes at 24 students.

Q. Does a parking variance mostly depend on neighborhood support, and how long would it take to get one? Why didn’t we need a parking variance before?

A. A site plan will be reviewed by the zoning commission.  They will determine what TCGIS will need for parking using a formula. For a construction project at our current site, the facility committee has been working with the city of St. Paul on a contract which would provide parking spaces at the Como Pool. We are simultaneously working on a contract for parking spaces at the Presbyterian Church on Como Avenue. Finally, there has been discussion of utilizing the south side of Jessamine for TCGIS parking.

Q. A simple section called "what's next" that lays out what's happening next would be helpful.

A. Thank you for the suggestion - we’ll try to make it happen!

Q. The cost of heating the building is an issue. What efforts are there to reduce the carbon footprint of the school, especially in the proposed building? How are green design and sustainability being included?

A. Not sure which building you are referring to.  On the current TCGIS campus, we have discussed with our architect and contractor how to improve the efficiency of the classroom building (window upgrade, heating/cooling controls, etc) in addition to the improved efficiency of replacing the Aula.

Q. Can we get historic preservation funds for the outside of the building and still gut the inside? Have we gotten quotes for gutting the choir loft area and building a stage?

A. In order to access the type and scale of grant funding required to fully address the Aula’s needs, TCGIS would have to apply for the Aula be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and acceptance is not guaranteed. Municipal historic designation does not offer enough (if any) access to preservation funding. TCGIS’s Board, Administration and Attorney do not believe TCGIS would be able to access enough grant funds to maintain the Aula at the level required by the National Register.

Removal of the choir loft has not been explored.

Q. Can we move fully to another building/location without splitting the campus at all?

A. Selling our current facility while also finding/building a new facility is challenging and a risk to considering the Central Lutheran option.

Q. Is it possible to outgrow the new space, if we proceed with construction?

A. The school board position is to have 3 sections of K-8 with 24 kids in each class.  The current design creates enough space to operate a school of that size.

Q. If we stayed on the Como site, would we ever have possibilities to buy out the houses on that block (that curves around- so houses to the east nearer the park)?

A. The school board does not currently have any plans to buy properties adjacent to the school. It could be a possibility in the future.

Q. When will the space issues/solutions to space issues be finally decided? What date will the community know what to expect?

A. The school board called a July board meeting to discuss the options vetted by the facility and finance committees.  A motion and vote could happen at this meeting, which is scheduled for 6:30pm on Monday July 30.

Q. Are there any other potentially-viable options to purchase besides CLS?

A. The facility committee has looked at many properties in the search to solve TCGIS’ space need.  Currently the facility committee isn’t considering other properties.

Q. It is difficult to financially compare apples to apples w/o the purchase price of the new facility/temp split campus option.

A. School board policy requires real estate property transactions remain confidential while in negotiations.  What has been shared is operating a split campus increases operating expenses by $175,000 annually, meaning TCGIS would have to consider raising class sizes to increase operating revenue.  Also, moving forward with purchasing an additional property without a buyer for TCGIS’ current facility means we have to plan for maintenance and rehab expenses at both sites, which isn’t viable long term.

Q. Any way to preserve some of the Aula structure for historical purposes?

A. The facility committee received estimates for saving different pieces of the Aula.  Retaining the facade is estimated to cost $600,000 and would impact the gymnasium space. There may be other opportunities to incorporate pieces of the Aula into the addition, or to design the addition in a way that references the Aula, or to create a memorial of some sort. (See previous FAQ about estimates for saving other building components)

Q. Can another top floor be added to the existing building that could potentially function as a gym?

A. No. The site has a zoning height restriction of 30’ and is cost prohibitive.

Q. If TCGIS will move to Central Lutheran School building, what will happen to the Aula then? TCGIS is responsible for the building until it sells and did anybody quantify the risk of not selling or the loss of a discounted price due to the Aula?

A. Selling our current facility while also finding/building a new facility is challenging and a risk to considering the Central Lutheran option.  Please view the budget document shared on the building project website showing expenses related to projected building maintenance and its impact on the building fund budget.

Q. I hope there is a plan to help the SpEd Dept find spaces for services in the meantime. We can not wait two years to teach our kids to read. Can we rent space from the church across the street?

A. TCGIS has consolidated administrative staff to free up office space.  ADSIS support and RTI pull outs will have additional space ready for the upcoming school year.

Q. Why was the previous architect automatically chosen?

A. Rivera Architects was not “automatically chosen” - their firm was a good partner on the first project and has been a valuable resource to TCGIS while we evaluated the school’s space needs. Rivera Architects also has considerable experience working with charter schools. The school board discussed engaging with other architects and decided to work with Rivera again.

Q. Who determined asbestos-containing tiles [at Central Lutheran School] need to be removed and why? undisturbed asbestos is not a hazard. is there a law requiring mitigation regardless of risks and costs?

A. The problem with leaving asbestos in place even in a non-friable condition is every time TCGIS might need to do work which could disturb an area containing asbestos, TCGIS would have to take additional precautions and mitigation efforts. These are significantly more costly and come with the risk of making the asbestos containing products friable.

Q. What's the present status on the Como site becoming an official "historic" site?

A. In St. Paul, anyone can nominate a building for municipal historic designation. The process takes nearly 1 year from the date of application and includes three public hearings by the Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Commission and the City Council. There are no restrictions on a property until the Mayor designates it as historic. TCGIS has no plans to pursue designation on the National Register.




Still have questions or comments?

Please use this Google form to submit your questions and comments. Danke!