After over nine months of discussion and almost 20 years of operation, the City of South St. Paul and South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) will be ending their Joint Management Agreement for Central Square Community Center effective June 30, 2021. As a result of this decision, SSPPS will take over the operation of Central Square as part of programming through Community Education. Specific impacts of this action are still being evaluated. However, we do know that the School District will maintain a strong senior program for the community.
Central Square has been experiencing declining memberships since 2013. The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted memberships and attendance. The School District, as owners of the facility, was deemed to be in the best position to operate the building going forward given certain components of the facility are needed for School District operations (swimming pool, gymnastics area, and meeting rooms).
The City’s Parks & Recreation Department will shift their focus to traditional programming activities. Their operations will move to the first floor of City Hall prior to July 1st. The City has also pledged its full cooperation with South St. Paul Public Schools to facilitate a smooth transition.
Further information as to specific changes and impacts on future Central Square usage can be directed to the SSPPS Community Education Department at 651-306-3631.
The South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) has issued the following statement:
South St. Paul Public Schools to Lead Central Square Facility
After months of discussion and almost 20 years of operation, the City of South St. Paul and South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) are ending their Joint Management Agreement for the Central Square Community Center (CSCC) effective June 30, 2021.
In July 2004, the City of South St. Paul and SSPPS entered into a Joint Management Agreement to form the CSCC. The core operation of the community center is dependent upon membership and program revenue. Membership hit a peak in 2013 and has since been steadily in decline. With continued membership decline and other financial factors, the CSCC has been operating at a financial loss. With the added financial pressure being placed directly on the city and school district budgets, leaders from both entities made the difficult decision to end their current CSCC partnership agreement.
Beginning July 1, South St. Paul Public Schools, as owners of the Central Square building, will take full responsibility for the management of the site. As SSPPS assumes sole leadership of the site, the district is committed to:
- Maintaining a strong Senior Center Program
- Exploring options to ensure vital programming continues for the SSP community
- Be fiscally responsible to the community taxpayers
While the management and future operation of the CSCC may look a little different, SSPPS is excited to explore options to ensure vital programming continues for the entire South St. Paul community. The district is committed to communicating with current CSCC members and the SSP community as decisions are made and the transition unfolds. CSCC questions can be directed to the SSPPS Community Education Department at (651) 306-3631.