02-11 armory kk.jpg

The Armory building and currently Senior Citizens Center at 2nd Street and Broadway north.

A proposal to transform the Rochester Armory into a K-8 charter school has come to the attention of the Rochester City Council, months after the city closed its request for proposals to re-purpose the public building.

The armory is currently home to the Rochester Senior Center but will become vacant city-owned space when the senior organization moves to 125 Live. A new proposal would see the space become the Armory Arts Academy, a tuition-free public elementary and middle school with a focus on visual and performing arts.

The proposal came from Carlo Galeazzi, CEO of nonprofit corporation Art and Science Academy. The nonprofit has operated for four years and has opened two schools, the first in 2014 and a second earlier this year.

A budget summary attached to the proposal shows the academy being funded by state education funds, with no financial assistance from the city of Rochester required.

Rochester City Council member Nick Campion received a copy of the proposal Friday, he said. Without regard to the content of the proposal, he said considering a new proposal at this time could present "a pretty big problem."

The council last week evaluated two proposals for the armory, one from the Rochester Arts and Cultural Initiative and another from the Minnesota Veterans and Emergency Services Museum.

The city had issued a request for proposals and set a deadline for proposals of March 31.

"I think we have to talk a little bit as a council about how we will handle something coming in now that we've already started an evaluation process," Campion said.

Campion was in no hurry to get the issue to the council table — Monday's committee of the whole meeting already has a full agenda, and Campion wants a full discussion of options, he said.

"I think it just opens up a lot of questions we have to have solid answers for before we move forward," he said.

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