What to do with Shingle Creek School

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In the broad context of things, Shingle Creek Elementary School building is just one of several properties that the Minneapolis Public School (MPS) district has to find a potential resolution to. The Shingle Creek Neighborhood Association’s (SCNA) Shingle Creek Elementary Reuse Committee and University of Minnesota NPCR Research Assistant David Arbit have spent the last several months delving deeper into potential reuses for the neighborhood asset.

At the top of every resident’s list across the city is that they’d like to see their closed schools reopened and utilized as schools. MPS recently completed a site analysis, for all their closed schools, which provided an in depth look at each building. SCNA’s work focused on collecting further community input, offering some potential ideas for possible reuse of the facility, including multiple tenant possibilities and seeking potential partners for such a venture.

Since originally opening in 1950s, Shingle Creek Elementary School has been closed and reopened twice to accommodate the growth (or decline of) of MPS enrollment – once in the mid 1980s and once in early 2000. “The Shingle Creek neighborhood has very few assets remaining,” said SCNA Chair Brock Hanson. “We have no businesses and now no elementary school to attract new homeowners to our neighborhood. This building offers the neighborhood a challenging yet unique opportunity to find a creative solution that could help reverse the foreclosure and urban flight factors affecting our neighborhood. We’re excited about the viable options Mr. Arbit’s work has helped identify. And we’re looking forward to exploring them further in the future.”

Many options over the years have been voiced by various entities for this site including: housing development, soccer fields and ponds, all of which include razing the building. Most recently a proposed land swap between MPS and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), that would include land at Olson Middle School being swapped for the Shingle Creek Elementary school and its property, would offer MPRB full use of its own facility. With recent budget shortfalls of both the MPS and MPRB, it may make this less of an amicable option than originally proposed.

The most viable option being considered currently is a potential multi-tenant option. Several nonprofit entities and community residents have come forward with potential options for reutilizing the space including an artistic hub of art and theatre, youth center, business incubator, storage facility or community center space. The largest challenge with this approach is finding a financially solid landlord open to a multi-tenant facility. This option is the most solid potential identified in Arbit’s presentation for reuse of this facility.

For info about the SCNA reuse committee meetings or to find Arbit’s full powerpoint presentation go to www.scna-mpls.org.