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Archive for Friday, February 12, 1999

DISTRICT BUYS OFFICE SPACE

February 12, 1999

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For the second time in eight years, Lawrence school district administrative offices will be moving into new digs.

The Lawrence school district has entered into a contract with local developer Martin Moore for the purchase of his building at 110 McDonald Dr.

Board President Maley Wilkins, who has been negotiating with Moore, confirmed the purchase Thursday.

"Our bid was accepted by the sellers, and we should take possession next fall," Wilkins said.

The district will pay $4.1 million for the 60,000-square-foot building and the surrounding land.

The Douglas County appraiser's office last year placed a value of $2.12 million on the property for tax purposes. A commercial appraiser hired by the district placed a value of $4.2 million on it, Wilkins said.

"We did our homework," she said.

In the end, the district settled for less than the 100,000 square feet of space it was seeking to consolidate much of its non-classroom operations.

"The ground we're buying has a lot of potential for expansion," Wilkins said. "It's not quite as much room as we wanted, but we bought it at a price we felt would allow us to expand."

Money for the purchase will come, in part, from the bond issue passed by district voters in November. The bond issue will provide $2.85 million; the remaining $1.25 million will come from funds the district realizes from the sale of its India building, 1739 E. 23rd, and the District Service Center, 3705 Clinton Pkwy., said Craig Fiegel, assistant superintendent.

The India building is currently used for food services and surplus storage.

The District Service Center has housed administrative offices since it was purchased in 1991. Fiegel said that it never housed all of the administrative staff in the district, and expansion of the 15,600-square-foot building didn't seem practical with the surrounding residences.

The district will retain its building at 1919 Del. that offers adult education, early childhood education and American Indian education, Fiegel said. It will also retain a maintenance storage unit at 146 Maine, he said.

Service center offices, storage, food services and library services will move into the new location either late this year or early next year, Fiegel said.

"It's not going to take much to move people in there," he said. "It's not going to take much expenditure for us."

Having administrative services in the same building with other district operations will help smooth daily functions, Fiegel said.

"One of the biggest advantages is communication," he said. "It's the ability to help each other. Right now we're spread out to five locations, and this way we can be more efficient."

Consolidation, Fiegel said, "is something we've talked about for a long time."

The 110 McDonald building already includes office space and open warehouse space, he said.

Moore said he expects the sale to be completed sometime this fall.

-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is jwatson@ljworld.com.

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