Sale of School Advances

We want to sell it.

But maybe not yet.

But we will now.

Such is the disposition of the former South Street Early Learning Center property on Pennsylvania Avenue E.

The facility was put up for sale last December by the Warren County School District and the only bid received came from United Refining Co.

United’s bid came in at $129,962.52 for the four parcels that make up the South Street property.

Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht, the school district’s director of buildings and grounds, updated the school board’s Physical Plant and Facilities Committee at its meeting Monday night about another group that expressed interest in purchasing South Street.

Kennerknecht said that he received a letter last week from the Star Shine Child Development Center which offered to purchase South Street for a total of $447,500. The letter stated that the company intended to turn the facility into a daycare.

Their proposal included an 18-month lease before the full purchase was made.

While the sale amount far surpasses the amount submitted by United, Kennerknecht said that the “public school code does not permit this type of a sale.”

He explained that the district had 120 days to respond to the bid from United. “The 120 days expires around May 13-15,” said Kennerknecht. “We’re still within the time parameter.”

“One of the things that concerns me about (the other) proposal,” said Vice President Donna Zariczny, is that the group wants to “lease it for 18 months. To me it seems like a trial sort of thing. In the meantime we will have gone two years down the road” while the offer from United could go “by the wayside.”

Kennerknecht said that an appraisal was not completed on the property as the type of sale the district pursued a sealed bid did not require an appraisal.

The district, as well as building contractors at the district’s construction projects, have used the building for storage in the interim.

In January, Kennerknecht said that, although only one bid was received, other entities expressed interest in the property. Of those other entities, “they were unable to collect their funding or their program was (not) in order to bid on it,” he said.

Discussion has taken place about whether the South Street building might be needed to house students and/or programs from Warren Area High School during an upcoming renovation.

“There has been some discussion,” said Superintendent William Clark in January. “South Street would be a possibility to put one of the grade levels during renovation. (We) might want to hold onto that building a little bit longer.”

At the time, the board elected to not act on the bid received from United.

South Street was closed when kindergarten and first grade were consolidated with grades two through five at the Warren Area Elementary Center for the 2013-2014 school year.

The committee voted to forward United Refining’s bid to the full board for consideration at its April meeting.