Archive for Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Bond would put schools for sale

District plans new uses for buildings

January 21, 2003


The Lawrence school district may have to juggle disposition of five properties if elementary school consolidation plans fall into place.

But the sale of old schools or converting the structures to new uses won't come quickly, if the handling of Grant School is any indication.

Fifteen months after the board voted to shut down Grant, the tiny school building near Lawrence Municipal Airport is still in district hands.

"We can't maintain it forever," Austin Turney, board vice president, said Monday. "The question will come up in less than a year."

Originally, representatives of Grant Township were interested in acquiring the building.

But "they couldn't afford to do that," said Scott Morgan, board president.

Officials of the school district, township and Douglas County are working on a deal that would transfer ownership of the building at 1853 E. 1600 Road to the county. It would used by the county for document storage and be made available for township meetings.

If that doesn't pan out, Grant will be sold to the highest bidder.

"We'd put it on the market," Turney said.

The district also intends to sell Riverside School, 601 N. Iowa, after it closes in May. The board voted to shut down that school and divide 100 students between Deerfield and Pinckney schools in an effort to cut costs. Money from the sale would be funneled back into district facilities.

"We're mostly interested in getting the highest price for it," Morgan said.

A proposed $59 million bond issue that incorporates consolidation of East Heights School, 1430 Haskell Ave., and Centennial School, 2145 La., could have a domino effect on the district's Adult Learning Center, 1919 Del.

If voters pass the bond April 1, all the district's preschool programs could move to East Heights. The former elementary school also could house Adult Learning Center programs, permitting the building on Delaware Street to be sold.

Passage of the bond also would trigger closure of Centennial. The board hasn't decided that building's future, but it could be passed to Lawrence High School, 1901 La.

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