Minnehaha Academy students will head to Mendota Heights for school this year

The Upper School isn't safe enough to hold classes right now.

Minnehaha Academy high schoolers will have classes during this upcoming school year – and possibly even next – at a former college in Mendota Heights.

Officials with the Minneapolis school have been searching for a temporary location for students and staff in the wake of this month's explosion. Two workers were killed and a portion of the Upper School was destroyed in the incident, which federal investigators have traced back to natural gas work being done on the property.

At this point the building is "too damaged and structurally unsound" for students and teachers to be in there, according to Mendota Heights City Council documents.

So Minnehaha Academy asked the city if they could use the former site of Sanford-Brown College, which closed in June as part of a company refocusing. It's located about 8 miles south of the damaged Upper School campus in Minneapolis.

At a special meeting Wednesday evening, the Mendota Heights City Council unanimously approved Minnehaha Academy's request, MPR News reports.

That means the 350 Upper School students and 50 staff will head to the site at 1345 Mendota Heights Rd. for classes starting Sept. 5 (which is later than originally planned). 

The site is already set up for school use, and includes plenty of parking, a "typical" business school arrangement, a library, lounges and gathering spaces, some science labs, and more, according to documents posted online.

Minnehaha Academy asked to lease the space for up to two years. But if work on the Upper Campus goes well they might only be there for a year. There's also an option for the school to ask for an extension before the June 30, 2019 deadline.

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