Northern Campus Won't Need Environmental Impact Statement

By KBJR News 1

October 15, 2010 Updated Oct 15, 2010 at 6:33 AM CDT

Virginia,MN - (Northland's NewsCenter) - It's a negative decision that means positive progress for St. Louis County Schools.

In a 7 - 1 vote, the County's Planning Commission considered Independent School District 2142's Environmental Assessment Worksheet for its future Northern Campus "satisfactory," and handed down what they call a "negative decision."

What does that mean?

"Well, basically, we don't have to go ahead and get an environmental impact statement," said superintendent Dr. Charles Rick, noting the move places the proposed 170,000 square-foot school back on track for completion sometime in 2013.

Rick also explained that a positive decision could have sent the district back to the drawing board with its design plans, all due to a complex mass of issues surrounding waste-water and treated sewage runoff from the site.

Many folks speaking at the meeting were vocally unhappy about the chosen location for the school, which is four miles south of the town of Cook.

The site drains into the Flint Creek, which is part of the Big and Little Fork River-shed. The location also had some neighbors questioning those plans.

"If you have a school on the creek that's dumping supposedly 10,000 gallons of treated sewage a day into it -- how can you do that? -- How can you dump that into a dry creek-bed?" said neighbor John Hess, who hunts and fishes near the creek.

"It just seems unethical to me."

The School District will still have to endure two more county meetings to apply for a variance due to the school's huge footprint. Officials expect the final word on whether plans are completely approved in late November.

Written for the web by Matt Standal