More approvals for school, homes at Roseville armory site

The former National Guard Armory site in Roseville is on its way to becoming a school once again, while four single-family homes are also planned for the site. (file photo)

Previously envisioned as a larger single-family home development, the armory site in southeast Roseville began as McCarrons School, which was built in 1936. (courtesy of City of Roseville)

The Roseville City Council is continuing to help chart the course for the National Guard Armory site in the southeast corner of the city, which is planned to become a Montessori school and four homes.

The council on April 22 approved the final plat for 211 N. McCarrons Blvd., which includes the future location of Hand In Hand Christian Montessori school and lots on the west end of the property that will become single family homes. The council also rezoned the lots to a lower level of residential density.

The city had originally anticipated the site, located just west of Rice Street and north of Lake McCarrons, becoming a larger housing development in line with the neighborhood. 

However, Hand In Hand stepped in last year looking to take over the existing 55,000-square-foot armory building, which had previously been McCarrons School. The National Guard vacated the space in 2016.

Currently housed out of a building at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, the school is moving and anticipates jumps in enrollment, from 300 students to some 500 in the near future. Hand in Hand also has a Bloomington campus.

Neighbors of the site at previous meetings had said they were excited about the prospect of it becoming a school again, and prior council discussions in the plat process concerned preserving trees on the site and storm water mitigation, due to the land’s proximity to the lake.

City Engineer Jesse Freihammer told council members April 22 that once development work is complete at the site, less storm water will make it into Lake McCarrons than does now.

Council members also noted at the meeting that any necessary pedestrian improvements to move people from the south side of McCarrons Boulevard to the north side, where the school is located, will be handled and paid for by the developer.

Another part of the final plat agreement is that the developer will pay $16,000 — $4,000 per home lot — in lieu of park dedication. The money will be used for purposes related to city parks. City code says that any time new residential lots over an acre in size are created, a portion of the land must be dedicated to public use, or a cash payment is made to the city.

Representatives from the school have said they plan to renovate the existing building, creating some 20 classrooms. Hand in Hand plans to have the building ready for the 2019-2020 school year.

McCarrons School was built in 1936 on what was previously a dairy farm. The National Guard bought the school site in 1981. 

In January, 2016, Roseville was given the option to buy the armory site but turned it down; Ramsey County also chose not to buy it.

The 2016 closure of the armory was part of the shuttering of 11 other armories across Minnesota. Many were closed because they were in poor condition — others are being upgraded. Before the closures, 64 National Guard armories dotted the state.


—Mike Munzenrider

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