Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vacant school, district property stirs interest from various groups

February 17, 2011

Various groups and businesses are interested in USD 348’s vacant elementary school and the surrounding property, but Superintendent Paul Dorathy doesn’t expect a decision in the near future.

The school district property, which runs from Fifth to Eighth streets and from Baker to Chapel streets, has officially been for sale since early November. During the past three months, 12 different parties have expressed interest in the property.

“I’d say nothing is going to come quickly with this,” Dorathy said at Monday’s school board meeting. “I don’t see anything happening quickly unless someone comes in with a very large offer.”

Board members discussed the sale of the property and which piece of it the interested parties wanted. Board Members Ruth Barkley and Josh Mihesuah are heading a committee to find the best possible solution for the property.

“I think our biggest thing is trying to put a price on it,” Mihesuah said. “That’s really hard, unless you have someone come in and do it and that costs a lot of money. Plus that’s their price tag. It’s probably worth whatever to whomever wants it the most. It’s tough to put a price tag on it.”

Barkley, Dorathy and Mihesuah have met with several of the interested groups and discussed the property. Most of those groups are businesses or community groups.

Board Member Ande Parks asked Dorathy if they got the feeling that most people were interested in the entire property.

“No, I don’t think so,” Dorathy said. “I think we have some parties who are interested in different things. I think everyone we’ve talked to kind of has a different idea of what they would like to see happen. They also have different parts that they would be interested in.”

The property for sale includes the old Baldwin Elementary School, District Office, grass lot east of the old school building and the South Gym, which houses the Baldwin High School wrestling team and cheerleader squad.

For now, the school district will keep talking to interested groups about the property and see what offers it receives.

“We’re still arranging tours,” Barkley said. “Some of them have to go back and talk to other parties after their visit. That’s something we’re still in the process of discovering, if you will.

“It’s not like we are going to come back next month and bring you six offers to look at,” she said. “The people interested have their own problems and people to go through first.”

Anyone who is interested in the property should call the District Office at (785) 594-2721.

Comments

Torch 3 years, 2 months ago

Can you still play basketball in the gym? Or is the floor covered with mats for wrestling.

Since we don't have a Rec Center in town has any thought been given to the city picking that up and trying to make it a public facilty?

It's not like we have a ton of money to spend and I'm not for increasing expenditures (or taxes) but in this case if the price is right maybe the city should grab it and fix it up in time. There is room on the north side to expand for a weight room and perhaps locker rooms at some point. If the school still needs the space perhaps the city could lease it back and re-coup some of its costs.

On the other hand the cost to maintain it until revenues come around might be a little much.

Just a thought.

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robinbayer 3 years, 2 months ago

Torch,

The Recreation Commission as an entity can purchase real property. Since the Recreation Commission would be the logical folks to operate such a facility it would probably be an all-around better fit for them to purchase (or otherwise acquire) the facility directly than for the City to be involved. The Recreation Commission draws its taxing authority from USD 348, therefore its tax base would be much wider, and the resultant cost to an individual taxpayer within the Baldwin City limits would be less under such a scenario.

Robin Bayer 913-645-6666

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Torch 3 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for that info. I agree that the Rec Commission would be a better choice to purchase it.

I'm not sure now is the right time given how leveraged everyone in Baldwin already is...but creating a community rec center seems like a good idea since we passed on building one 10 years or so ago.

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Slade 3 years, 1 month ago

This appears to be inaccurate.

From the Kansas State Statutes: Chapter 12-1928(l): Powers of recreation commission. Every recreation commission appointed pursuant to this act shall have the power to: acquire title to personal property by purchase, bequest, gift or other donation and acquire title to real property by devise, gift, or other donation. Whenever property owned by a recreation commission is sold, the proceeds shall be for recreation purposes.

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hipgrrrrl 3 years, 2 months ago

"The school district property...has officially been for sale since early November."

“I think our biggest thing is trying to put a price on it... It’s tough to put a price tag on it.”

This makes no sense at all. The property is for sale and has been for three months. Yet, there is no asking price? Yup, I would certainly say that it will take a pretty long time for anything to happen in regards to a sale. Mr. Dorathy happens to be correct on this point - finally.

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ksrush 3 years, 1 month ago

Watch this turn into as much drama as consolidation.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 1 month ago

We have if for sale but have no clue what to sell it for...don't you think that is something you should have determined 4 years ago?

An the idea of giving it away as a Rec Center is absolutely idiotic. It needs to be SOLD and the money then allowed to pay off some of exorbitant School district debt being paid by the tax payers of this community.

The last thing we need is another tax liability on the books for Baldwin. As it stands now people are leaving this town due to high cost of living and declining educational system

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