Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2017

Board to seek bids on Ainsworth school

By Xiomara Levsen | Jul 12, 2017
Highland School board president Kevin Engel (left) listens while other board members make comments about interim superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen’s proposal (right) to seek bids for the Ainsworth Elementary building and ball fields during the school board meeting Monday evening.

 

 

The Highland School Board approved moving forward with seeking bids for the Ainsworth ball fields and Ainsworth school building at the meeting Monday evening.

 

“In your packet that you received was bid specs submitted to us [by school district attorney] Joe Holland,” Highland interim superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen said. “The first step would be making the determination of if or when the district would want to consider selling the Ainsworth building.”

Notifications would be published through different newspapers in the county that the district has bid specifications available for the public to view in the district’s business office and the deadline for bids would be Aug. 10, he added. Jorgensen would compile a list of the bids received for the board to review at its August meeting. If the board decided to move forward with bid specifications, a public hearing would be held at the September board meeting.

“And then after the public hearing in September the board could take action on the possible sale of that building if that’s what you so desire at that time,” Jorgensen added.

The board could reject any of the bids at any time, he said. He made sure the attorney included what the purpose or use of the building would be in the bid proposal. He also spoke with officials from the City of Ainsworth about the process because they were interested in buying the building and ball fields.

“I recommend we move forward with the bid specs and have a notification in the papers with a due date of Aug. 10,” Jorgensen said.

“Is this for everything?” board member Nate Robinson asked.

Jorgensen said the bid specification was for everything, which is the building and ball field grounds.

“My only question is, should we have two?” board president Kevin Engel asked. “One for the building and one for the ball field?”

Robinson said he wanted to make sure the ball field stayed where it was, and board member Rachel Longbine agreed with him.

“I’m sure we can break those down into two different specs and make those two different proposals,” Jorgensen replied.

The board approved unanimously to have separate bid specifications for the ball field and the building.

Jorgensen also proposed having a building assessment at the Ainsworth building done by Carl A. Nelson.

The idea to have a building assessment came to him after a school board member told him they weren’t sure what the condition of the building was or what it was worth, he added. He told the board he had previous experience working with this company and the money would be well spent.

“We just paid like $25,000 to have a company go through there,” Robinson said.

Longbine said from her understanding that company just looked at the roof. They didn’t look at the whole building and the district only received a tentative idea of what it would cost to repair the roof.

Board member Lois Schneider asked what kind of time frame Jorgensen was looking at to have the building assessment done.

“I would want to have that prior to our bid opening,” he replied.

Schneider said it would be good for the board to have that information before making a decision on whether or not to sell the building.

The only risk is after the assessment is done a bidder could pull out if something major were found wrong with the building, Jorgensen said.

“In my opinion if they come back and say, ‘You’re going to have to put in a half a million dollars in various things to bring this building back up to what you want it to be,’ I think that makes a difference in your decision,” he added.

“I agree,” Longbine said.

Board member Mike Golden asked which fund the money for the $2,275 building assessment would come from. Jorgensen replied it would come from the physical plant and equipment levy fund.

The board approved to move forward with the building assessment with four members voting yes. Board members Laura Temple, Engel and Robinson voted no.

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