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Mayo Project’s Possible Effects on City, Schools

Posted at: 01/31/2013 10:42 PM
Updated at: 02/04/2013 11:36 AM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- We were at the capitol as Mayo Clinic announced a roughly $6 billion project, one that would include big expansions to the clinic and the city of Rochester.

They're saying the 20 year plan could add 45,000 jobs in southeast Minnesota, a type of growth that would mean a lot of big changes for the "med city." No doubt if this idea passes, we're going to be seeing big changes in Rochester. A city that's already proven to grow very fast.

Cara Clarey with the History Center of Olmsted County says she's seen the city do it before, "I know that when I arrived here, I believe in '76, that the population was maybe around 74,000," she said. Now up to around 110,000 people, the city has made a lot of big changes. “We didn't have the Apache Mall, Miracle Mile was just kind of a budding shopping center, the Highway 52 corridor was a two lane highway," said Clarey.

She showed me images of Rochester from the 60's and 70's. "Our boundaries have really stretched. Stewartville used to be so far away and it’s not, it’s right around the corner," said Clarey.

Clearly more infrastructure, and a lot more people. "We saw a growth of roughly 350 new students this year and we were able to accommodate that," said Superintendent Michael Munoz with Rochester Public Schools.

Enrollment is one example. Right now it's not a problem for Rochester Public Schools, but talk of a project that's predicted to bring in a lot more people, means even more students.

"The population is going to increase and we know that a lot of those are going to have children that are going to be in our school district, so that’s something that we're going to have to plan in the future," said Munoz.

Changes that Superintendent Munoz thinks will be positive. "If it's good for the city of Rochester, it’s good for our school district," he said.

"The Rochester community, Olmsted County, can support that kind of growth," said Clarey.

A big chunk of that money for the project will actually go towards transforming Rochester to accommodate more people. Mayo officials say they hope to invest in hospitality, recreation, and things like that to keep people here.