School Board Exploring Options for District Office

School board members discussed the state of the district office at its meeting Sept. 11. Photo by Mario Boucher

There was no shortage of discussion at the most recent School Board meeting concerning what to do with the aged building now serving as the district office on El Centro Street.

At present, four options seem to be on the table: do nothing, renovate, swap buildings, or sell the property.

During the Sept. 11 meeting, School Board President Jon Primuth weighed in on the potential of ignoring the issue, saying, “Doing nothing is not a solution.” 

Others were not supportive of selling the property. School Boardmember Dr. Michele Kipke, for example, said it wouldn’t take long to “blow through” the money raised by the sale.

Much of the discussion revolved around the possibility of swapping the property or renovating the building.

“This place is falling apart,” said outgoing School Boardmember Elisabeth Eilers, “we need to find a better place for the district.”

“We have offices that are in horrible conditions,” added Kipke. “We can’t just continue like this.”

School Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz estimated repairs could cost as much as $6 million. He said it will “take considerable money to bring the building up to code.”

School Boardmember Dr. Suzie Abajian suggested a list should be drawn up with all the repairs that need to be done.

It was the consensus of the board that the aging condition of the current district building should be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Primith explained that there is a window of opportunity right now with development happening in the area. There would be plenty of interest from private developers, he said.

School Boardmember Julie Giulioni asked for the community to become involved in the process as soon as possible.

Yantz said the next step should be to start informing the public about options and the need of a new building versus making the necessary repairs at the current location.

Kipke also said it’s important for people to understand the challenge that the board is facing because the current conditions are not acceptable.

More information will be provided to the board at the next meeting in October.