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ACGC may have buyer for Cosmos, Minn., elementary school

COSMOS -- Just one month after agreeing to move K-4 grade students out of their elementary school in Cosmos this fall, there's word there may be a buyer for the school building.

A recommendation to the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board for a potential sale of ACGC South Elementary could come as early as April or May, according to Superintendent Sherri Broderius.

Because of low enrollment in Cosmos, all ACGC elementary students will attend the district's elementary school in Atwater starting this fall.

At the board meeting Monday, Broderius said a member of the board's facilities committee reported that a party is researching ownership of the one-story school building in Cosmos.

The name of the individual or entity was not revealed at the meeting, and Broderius said she did not know the identity of the potential buyer.

She did say, however, the building will continue to be used by the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative, which operates the Cosmos Learning Center in a wing of the school. The Cosmos Learning Center has a unique program for students with disabilities, including autism.

The cooperative has leased space at the Cosmos school for three years, sharing the building with ACGC's students in kindergarten through fourth grade. A taxidermy business has also been leasing space in the school after a fire last year destroyed its building in Cosmos.

As the number of ACGC students attending the Cosmos school has decreased -- enrollment was expected to be fewer than 60 students next year -- the number of students being served by the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative has increased.

A representative from the cooperative's Cosmos Learning Center said at a previous board meeting that the cooperative could increase its student numbers even more if it could lease additional space in the Cosmos school and could expand enough to use the entire building within two years.

Broderius said it's unusual for a school district to leave a building in a small rural community that's "full of renters" that bring people to town, buy local goods and hire local people for jobs. "I think it's a wonderful deal," she said.

To help prepare for the transition of students from Cosmos to Atwater, work is continuing to refine the bus routes and develop plans for continuing a preschool program in Cosmos. There will also be several joint events this spring, including teacher training, fields trips that will blend the Atwater and Cosmos elementary students together and a K-4 concert that will bring students, parents and teachers together.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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