Education

QPS preparing to auction Dewey, Washington schools

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 29, 2017 7:50 pm Updated: Nov. 29, 2017 7:55 pm

QUINCY -- The Quincy School Board expects to auction off Dewey and Washington schools in early 2018.

Board member Mike Troup said the board likely will set an auction date at its Dec. 19 meeting to sell the two buildings, which are not slated to be used after the end of the 2017-18 school year.

The board is required to give at least six weeks notice of the auction, so "it looks like the earliest we could have an auction for any property would be sometime in early February," Troup said. "If we don't do an auction until March, I think we're OK. We'll do some marketing, get the information out."

Just do not expect the buildings to change hands immediately after an auction.

As a condition of the sale, the district intends to maintain possession at least until September or October 2018 and possibly as long as July 2019 to mitigate concerns about potential construction delays on the new K-5 school buildings on North 12th Street and at 48th and Columbus Road, which are slated to open in August.

"If there's some construction delay, some unknown event that happens that doesn't allow the North 12th or 48th schools to be ready for August of next year, we have to keep the current buildings we operate today," Troup said.

Although both new buildings are slightly ahead of schedule, "until they're completed and released to use as schools, we've got some hesitation," Troup said. "We want to make sure we don't sell a building we're using today, (then say), 'Gee, we'd like to lease that back for a year.' "

The board also wants to give district crews plenty of time to empty out the buildings.

"We're moving all K-5 classrooms this summer," Troup said. "We have to give our crews time to get that moved to where it needs to be, then we probably need our maintenance crew to come in to (look at) whatever furniture hasn't been moved out (and decide) do we want to keep it, sell it. We need time to figure that out."

Three potential buyers have expressed interest in Washington School.

Help Us Build wants to use the building as a hub for services to help the surrounding neighborhood advance education, maximize income through workforce development, promote health, and provide food security. HUB outlined its plans to the School Board in October.

A second nonprofit group proposed a similar idea, Troup said, and a third group is considering converting the school to senior housing.

"Who's going to show up for the auction? I don't know," Troup said. "The more people we get interested in the facility, hopefully the higher the dollars we get for the property."

Troup said he has not talked to anyone specifically about Dewey School, but he has heard some interest in Adams and Madison schools.

Adams, Berrian, Ellington and Madison schools will not be sold "until at least a year from now," Troup said.

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