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Bailey land is preferred for new middle school

A middle school could rise from Bailey Nurseries land in Cottage Grove.

South Washington County Schools has identified Bailey property as its preferred site for a new Oltman Middle School. District 833 School Board members met in closed session June 4 to develop an offer or counteroffer for the purchase of 54 acres owned by Bailey southeast of the intersection of 65th Street and Geneva Avenue.

The district’s long-term facilities plan proposes that a new middle school be built with revenue from a bond referendum tentatively planned for the November ballot. If the bond measure is successful and a new school is built, the current Oltman Middle School building in St. Paul Park would become home to the district’s Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion school.

The district selected northwest Cottage Grove as the area of a new middle school based on current enrollment and projected population growth in south Woodbury and Cottage Grove.

Superintendent Keith Jacobus said there are other potential sites but they have some difficulties, so the Bailey site is the priority.

“We would like to explore this one first because we see that it works well,” Jacobus said.

The Bailey property is in two parcels — 38 acres on the south side of 65th Street, just west of Wildflower Drive. The other property is a 16-acre site west of the larger parcel and bordering Geneva Avenue.

The nursery issued a statement June 8, saying only: “Over the years Bailey Nurseries has fielded many inquiries on the Cottage Grove site, and we continue to explore the highest and best use for this land that is no longer in nursery production.”

State law allows the school boards to meet in closed session for the development of land purchase offers. Any land purchase or sale must be approved at an open meeting.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

(651) 459-7600
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