Addition planned for Community of Peace Academy

Community of Peace Academy, located at 471 Magnolia Ave. in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood, will be starting construction on an addition to its building in October. The school has about 800 students and the addition will allow it to increase enrollment. (submitted photo)

Community of Peace Academy, a pre-k through 12th grade public charter school in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood, is planning to construct an addition to its building. 

The campus, located at 471 Magnolia Ave, has more than 800 students enrolled and is planning construction for anticipated enrollment growth. During a July 23 Payne-Phalen Community Council meeting, J. Kou Vang, project manager from JB Vang for the addition, shared plans and a timeline for construction.

Vang said the 30,000 square-foot addition would add 16 new classrooms and renovate rooms for English Language Learner and special education classes. It will also expand the cafeteria and music rooms, and make improvements to the gymnasium, allowing enrollment to cap out at 976 students and potentially increase staffing to 150.

Construction is planned to start in October with work wrapping up in August 2020. 

The addition will be built in the southeast corner and middle of the building, replacing an outdoor concrete play area and some 13 parking stalls. 

Currently, Community of Peace has an agreement with the church next door, St. Patrick’s of St. Paul, to use 47 parking spaces from the church for staff parking.

Due to the loss of 13 parking spaces with the addition, the school had considered building an 18-stall parking lot on land it owns at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Arkwright Street. However, to avoid the loss of green space near the school’s playground, Vang said the school sought parking variances from the city to allow parking on streets to avoid losing outdoor space for students.

The variances were granted by the city last month, so no parking lot will be constructed. Instead, the city will allow for 26 cars from the school to park on nearby streets. At the school’s entrance on the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Burr Street, five handicap parking stalls will be maintained.

The project is estimated to cost $10.37 million, with the school receiving up to $7.5 million in conduit lease revenue bonds from the city. 

Community of Peace Academy has operated on the East Side since 1995. 


–Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at

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