Members of the board have grown increasingly frustrated by six months of slow-moving negotiations. They registered that sentiment by setting a 5 p.m. Oct. 1 deadline for the North Lawrence congregation to submit a contract to the district's attorney.
"I think they're dragging their feet," said board member Jack Davidson, who has consistently opposed the sale.
Sue Morgan, board president and a proponent of selling to Unity Church, said half a year was sufficient time to compose a final contract.
"We need to move on," Morgan said. "I had the feeling we were not going to be a holding company."
She said the deadline was a practical business move and not a "punitive action."
In March, the board voted 4-3 to sell the building at 3705 Clinton Parkway to Unity Church. The congregation wanted to obtain a larger site because it had outgrown its building at 416 Lincoln.
Officials with Unity Church couldn't be reached Monday night, but the district's superintendent, Randy Weseman, said he was convinced the church still intended to go through with the deal.
"They want to purchase this building," he said.
After the church submitted its $905,000 bid in February, the city's fire marshal informed church leaders that city code required a sprinkler system to be installed in the basement underneath what would become a sanctuary.
Fire Marshal Rich Barr estimated a fire-supression system might cost $40,000.
The district hasn't needed the Clinton Parkway property for two years. The district moved into a new $4.1 million office and warehouse building at 110 McDonald Drive in late 1999.
Raintree Montessori School has rented the building for the past year. The school had its preschool and kindergarten building on Clinton Parkway destroyed by fire in August 2000.
-- Staff writer Tim Carpenter can be reached at 832-7155.