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District 196 buying MAC building in Eagan to be new learning center

The District 196 School Board on Monday agreed to purchase the Minnesota Autism Center (MAC) building in Eagan to become the district’s third learning center.

The purchase will be completed in February 2022 at a cost of $10,820,000. The price includes $320,000 in non-refundable earnest money that will allow the district to take occupancy of the building before the sale is completed. The purchase will be financed through the sale of certificates of participation, which will happen in February along with the purchase. The certificates will be paid off over a 15-year term using annual lease levy funding.

Constructed in 2017, the two-story, 50,000-square-foot building is located in the northeast corner of Highway 13 and Cedar Avenue in Eagan, across from the Twin Cities Premium Outlets and the Metro Red Line station on Cedar. The building is part educational space, part office space. It includes 16 classrooms, eight private offices, eight open offices, three meeting rooms, a large training room and gym. The 7.25-acre site includes a track, baseball/softball field, large parking lot and room to expand.

The District 196 Area Learning Center (ALC) high school program will be located in the new building to start the school year this fall. The ALC’s approximately 150 students and staff were temporarily housed at the Rosemount Community Center last year. The district’s Early Childhood Screening program will also be located in the new building and there will be classrooms for early childhood programming and space for staff.

In a separate action Aug. 9, the board approved an administrative recommendation to name the building Silver Bell Learning Center, located at 2120 Silver Bell Rd. in Eagan. This will be the district’s third learning center, along with the Cedar Valley and Dakota Valley learning centers in Apple Valley, which both offer early childhood and adult education programs.