SARTELL - A bond referendum for Sartell facility updates, including the building of a new high school, could be held as early as May.

Last month, a community task force recommended the district spend around $158 million for facility updates, including $87 million for a new high school.  Under the proposal, the current high school would turn into a middle school building. The middle school would become an intermediate school for 3rd-5th graders. The two elementary schools would then become Pre K-3rd grade.

The district is looking into two timelines for a vote, May 31st, or the general election in November. Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert says the district is hoping to select a plan next month.

"We're hoping that by our January 25th board meeting, the board will give an indication of moving ahead, choose an alternate course or decide to do nothing."

The Sartell district is running out of space in all of its buildings. In a recent meeting, the board looked into the impacts of a $100 million or $90 million bond. Schwiebert says so far, the spring vote seems like the better option to the board due to immediate space needs.

"Because of the urgency about the space crunch that we're going through and that we will continue to go through, having the earlier vote would be better in many people's minds at this particular time."

However, a spring vote under Minnesota law would require the ballots to be sent via mail.

"If you don't do it during the general election you have to do it by a mail ballot. If we decide to do it because of the speed we need to get it done, we would need to send ballots out and have people turn those back into us."

On Wednesday night, the board will discuss giving the district permission to negotiate with an architechtual firm. Schwiebert says the firm would allow them to gather more specifics on building costs and where a new high school would go.

Last month, a community task force recommended the district spend around $158 million for facility updates, including $87 million for a new high school.

The proposed new high school would be 270,000 square feet and would hold 1,350 students. A location for the building is yet to be determined.

If a referendum is approved in May, the new high school could be opened by the summer of 2019.