Archive for Sunday, February 5, 2012

USD 348 property drawing interest

The old school complex on Chapel Street, for sale for more nearly two years, have garnered recent interest. The USD 348 Board of Education will meet with its lawyer this Thursday at a special meeting to discuss issues involving the property.

The old school complex on Chapel Street, for sale for more nearly two years, have garnered recent interest. The USD 348 Board of Education will meet with its lawyer this Thursday at a special meeting to discuss issues involving the property.

February 5, 2012

USD 348 is getting interest for property it has had on the market for nearly two years.

USD 348 Superintendent Paul Dorathy said there has been interest from several parties on the complex of old school buildings along the north side of Chapel Street between Sixth and Eighth streets. Bundled with the schools, should a buyer be interested, would be the two metal buildings on the south side of Chapel Street, the superintendent said.

Issues involving the sale of the property will a topic the USD 348 Board of Education will discuss with the school district’s attorney in executive session at a special meeting scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Dorathy said he didn’t anticipate the board to make any decisions at that meeting.

The board had the property appraised when it decided to put in on the market in 2010. The appraised value was $850,000, but Dorathy said that might not be the market value.

The district central offices are now in what was originally the high school. It could be a buyer would work with the district so that the offices could remain there for a year before relocating. But if the buyer wanted the district out immediately, central offices would be moved to the closed Vinland Elementary until room was made in existing district space, Dorathy said.

The reshuffling would include the planned move next fall of the third grade from Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center to the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center and the subsequent transfer of programs to BESPC, Dorathy said.

Money the district received from selling the property would have to be placed in a carry-over fund, with the most appropriate would be the capital outlay fund, Dorathy said. He did investigate using the money to retire existing bond debt, but that isn’t possible, he said.


1776attorney 3 years, 8 months ago

There have been rumors, and I understand these are only idle town chatter, that one interested party is looking to only buy a portion of the total property, say the old grade school. (And maybe ask the school district to self-finance the purchase.)

The school district has no business financing real estate transactions for the primary benefit of private investors or groups. (But this is another, separate issue.)

Here's what happens in these situations almost exclusively. In a rush to unload some of a property and collect any immediate income, a property owner sells off 1/3 of his available real estate. Then the remaining 2/3 takes 2 to 3 times longer than normal to sell (5 to 10 years), if it ever does (as it's less appealing now that it's an incomplete property) during which time property taxes, utilities and maintenance still must be continued.. That remaining 2/3 becomes a white elephant with continued out of pocket costs.

The value in the old school property is for the purchaser to remove all the current buildings and preserve the old high school. If you sell off the old grade school only, what remains (including the old high school) has a very limited return on investment. The purchaser would be forced to tear down the old high school to get his value out of that parcel.

In our situation, say the School Board sells off the old grade school portion for $200,000. Then what remains will still have a high cost of upkeep and maintenance, and it may never sell because the remaining available property is now very limited in what it can be used for. Thus it just becomes a 5 to 10 year continuing burden on taxpayers. Suddenly, that $200,000 for the old grade school portion of the property doesn't look like such a wise business strategy.

While it may take longer to sell the property as a whole parcel, that's the only way for the school district to fully realize it's maximum profit and present the real estate as a valued property. And if the school board handles this wisely, I would support them in being patient and looking for a proper and beneficial transaction. .


1776attorney 3 years, 8 months ago

A quick side note on why the parcel as a whole is important--- preserving the old high school is important, I think, for the community.

Keep in mind that there is a high probability that the old high school is infiltrated with asbestos and lead paint. Any potential developer or buyer would know this.

The old grade school also has a good chance of having one or both of these issues.

Removal and correction of both of these dangerous issues come at a very high cost to a buyer of the property. The cost could far outweigh any potential profit potential.

If the property is sold off in smaller parcels, it really makes the financials unattractive as an investment or development.

Should the old grade school be sold as a smaller parcel, I suspect the old high school section will never sell and taxpayers will be saddled with the costs forever. A stand-alone parcel of the old high school and west end property would be a difficult proposition to sell off, I predict.


hyperinflate 3 years, 8 months ago

Also keep in mind that Paul asked for, and the School Board granted, that they would NOT sell to anyone that wanted to operate a school out of the facility. Nothing like limiting the potential buyers of oh, I don't know, a SCHOOL BUILDING. What is it with these folks?


BaldwinDad 3 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, Paul like most school districts can't handle any actual competition to the monopoly that Public Schooling has. This is how most greedy corporations operate, don't allow any fair market competition in my area I might have to offer a decent return on your investment if you did that.


hyperinflate 3 years, 8 months ago


I am a very big believer in public schools, but I absolutely have to agree with you on this. If their product is superior, why attempt to restrict any "competition". By virtue of public schools as a public institution they will already be able to best anyone's "price", so now they are explicitly restricting an entrant who might want to compete on "quality". But what do you do? It doesn't seem like there's anything a Board member can or cannot do that is punished at the ballot box.


BaldwinDad 3 years, 8 months ago


I'm a big believer in education, whether it be public as we have today(which is failing) or more private as Dorothy is trying to avoid have happen here in BC.

I have stated before on these forums that we need is a backpack approach to funding, where as the public aid/funding follows the child to whatever school the parents wants to enroll them in.

A scenarios like this would lead to schools competing for your business and thus offering a better return on the investment of public funds. As a bonus this would also give the parents the freedom to choose what education they deem is appropriate for their child within certain academic approved standards.

Several states have done this and it it successful.


Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

Well, making personal attacks anonymously on an internet forum is a start. I'm sure that has significant impact on things. I would bet they don't even read these types of forums because of the snarky, biting comments about the volunteer job they do.

But, I agree that for the most part, public school districts being run by patrons who were voted in but have no educational background whatsoever, and where many decisions are made behind closed doors in executive sessions, is a pretty poor system. There is little room for personal accountability.

But, I am guessing BaldwinDad has all the answers to this problem, too. He'll chime in, and guess what? No one will listen or care because all he has done in the past is level crititcism in a crude fashion, instantly negating anything of value he had to say.


Torch 3 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately the Education Industry in America has driven many of us to be 'crude'.

The problem is that Education is a bottomless pit. We could give USD 348 $1 billion and it would still demand more and produce less.

What's worse is that parents have bought into this charade and feel that more money = better education...which isn't true.

Better teaching = better education, and as long as tenure and the union exist that will never happen.


Torch 3 years, 8 months ago

Probably should bulldoze the entire property, re-zone it, and build student housing.


DLynnMcDaniel 3 years, 7 months ago

I believe the news article is about the sale of the old school buildings and not the ability/inability of the members on the current school board.
If I am correct, this property has had a for sale sign hanging on the east fence for almost two years now. It is about time to do something with the buildings.
If there is an interested party, and they are willing to purchase these buildings, then let them make an offer and put something in there besides empty space.
One final question(s): there was no mention of a value in the article - besides the appraised value - and yet one commentor said that there was an offer of $ does the blogger know this and not the newspaper reporter? Is this true? How did the blogger get this information? Is there a leak? Did the reporter not put this in at the request of the board, or did the reporter deem this number unnecessary? Enquiring minds want to know...


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