St. Cloud Area School District 742 convened a Community Committee to develop a Long-Range Facilities Plan. The plan called for the construction of a new E-8 school in St. Joseph to address the rapid growth seen in that area of the district.
David Leapaldt served as the lead architect to design a modern school to serve 755 students. The school that spans 135,000 square feet on a 71-acre site in St. Joseph, Minnesota, is seen as a case study in the nation for combining facility features and educational opportunities.
Although the school has a sizable footprint, it achieved the community’s desire to make it feel like a family-friendly, small town school. Separating the grade levels into three learning communities – E-2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6-8 help accomplish this close-knit feel. Each of these communities are arranged around a central core, and the design does not require these communities to mix. The design also make safety a priority with solution such as separating bus and car traffic and using only one entry for both daytime and nighttime activities.
The school received the national Gold LEED Certification for implementing environmentally-friendly practices in the design and construction.
*Work performed by David Leapaldt while Principal at Grooters, Leapaldt Tideman Architects PC.