River Ridge Education Center

River Ridge Education Center in Burnsville.

A year and half since closing three schools, Burnsville district officials continue to wade through questions surrounding the long-term future of district buildings.

In April, the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School Board authorized an agreement to sell the River Ridge Education Center for $1.25 million.

The deal, set to close by Aug. 18, marks the first sale in an ongoing district-wide facilities overhaul initiated in 2019.

The review of district facilities — sparked by a longstanding declining enrollment trend — led to the closure of Metcalf Middle School, M.W. Savage Elementary and Sioux Trail Elementary last year; long-term plans for the properties have not yet been determined.

River Ridge, located north of Grand Slam in Burnsville, previously housed the BEST program; a one-to-three year transitional program for 18 to 21-year-olds with disabilities.

The program is scheduled to relocate to the Diamondhead Education Center this month.

Lisa Rider, the district’s executive director of business services, said roughly $400,000 to $600,000 in retrofitting costs will be needed at Diamondhead to support the program.

Under current plans, a portion of the Diamondhead property in Burnsville and the 35-acre Metcalf property in Eagan will both be marketed for redevelopment.

The district is working with Ehlers, Inc., a financial advisory firm, to facilitate the process.

Metcalf is currently used weekly by a local non-profit serving meals to the community. It’s also been a Dakota County Public Health vaccination site during the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sioux Trail and M.W. Savage — the closed elementary schools — have been used during the past year for childcare and other district uses as-needed.

The long-term future of these schools, and the Cedar School located in Eagan, remains undetermined.

The district-owned Cedar School houses the Burnsville Alternative High School and some Intermediate School District 917 programs — ISD 917’s lease with the district ends June 30, 2022.

According to Rider, it’s unclear if the lease will continue.

District officials have previously discussed selling the Cedar School and moving the alternative high school program to the former M.W. Savage Elementary building in downtown Savage.

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