Saint Paul Public Schools Sign Saga

Met with people from SPPS today.  Sharon Freeman (Executive Director Elementary Education), Sara Guyette (Manager Facility Planning Administration Building -which is weird title but it’s what her cards say, actually I think this is a typo, the small print says Administration Building Facility Planning which makes more sense).  Also Kevin Busch from Busch Architecture.  Also present were 7 neighbors with strong feelings about the proposed sign.

Kevin desperately wanted to talk about how they came to the decision about how to do the sign.  We’ve been tossing around and mulling over this sign for months now.  We know that the name of the school is long, so the sign needs to be big, we know that the LED displays come in standard sizes and so they have to jump up the next level , not just increase the size a little, we know the school needs a sign and the district wants the signs to be uniform.  Several attempts were made to dissuade him from re-explaining the rationale for the nature of the sign.   In the end he got to explain and point to the beautiful drawings he printed off on his specially large printer.  We didn’t learn anything new, except that they planned to size it down (probably because they weren’t going to get approval from the zoning board).

Then new proposed sign is closer to 5 feet, down from over 7 feet.  This shrinks the message board, but doesn’t eliminate it.  Marginally good news.  But not good enough to make anyone happy, especially in light of the fact that the new sign is proposed to cost closer to $25 – 30k .

Both SPPS women seemed surprised that there had been requests for meetings, and even planned meetings which were canceled, previously.  They were puzzled about why we were meeting so late in the game (see previous post) to talk about this.

Bottom line (other than the unified opposition to the proposed sign) is that Sarah Guyette is going to confer with her people and get back to us about what they decide.  The general consensus was that the Saint Paul Public Schools District has no intentions of flexing on their design  save for the variance denials they get from zoning.  Neighborhood input may have changed the outcome of the zoning decisions, but the district isn’t giving in on anything other than what they are forced by law to to give in on.

I await contact from Sara to see what they have decided to do.  I’ll keep you posted.


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