Washington Evening Journal
https://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1687785

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 25, 2017

Highland sells Ainsworth school and ball fields to city

Sep 14, 2017

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL

 

The Ainsworth School building and playground and the ball fields and concession stand were sold Monday night to the city of Ainsworth.

A public hearing was held before the board voted on the bids from the city of Ainsworth. Highland interim superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen made a statement about the bids from the city.

“Every district I’ve ever been at, the cities and school always have good strong partnerships,” Jorgensen said. “In visiting with the city, I’ve learned about their desire to start up a library [for] kids in the community and they’ve also discussed possibly moving city hall into the building.”

Other collaborations are in the works for that building, which is a reason why Jorgensen recommended the school board accept the bid from the city. The school district also wants to continue building its relationship with the city.

“The plans being discussed by the city align with [what] our purpose and use of the facilities are,” Jorgensen added. “They also have granted or will grant us access to the facility as a bus stop in inclement weather, which is a big factor for us as well.”

He strongly believes the city will provide the stewardship and use for the facility the board was looking for, he added.

Former school board member Mike Roberts, who is an Ainsworth resident, emailed a statement to the school board about the bid Monday afternoon.

Roberts said he understood closing the Ainsworth school was a hard decision but thought it was probably what was best for the district.

“Now it is time to do the right thing to complete this step,” Roberts said. “The school has been part of the Ainsworth community for well over 100 years. In my opinion the right thing for the board to do is to approve the bids for the city of Ainsworth.”

There were no further comments about the bids or anyone speaking out against the district selling the school building to the city.

The bids for the school building and playground for $1 and the ball fields and concession stand for $1 were approved unanimously. The city will take possession of the properties in December.

Board member Nate Robinson said he wishes the city of Ainsworth well with their plans for the properties.

Board member Lois Schneider said she was never against what the city of Ainsworth had planned but wanted to make sure all taxpayers had a chance to bid on the properties and handled it correctly, which Jorgensen has done.

The school board also revisited boiler bids for the middle school/high school.

The previous bid the school board approved last month wouldn’t have the boilers ready for use until December, Jorgensen said. He recommended the board approve a bid from ThermoSolutions for $127,500 because they could have the boilers installed by October. The board approved his recommendation unanimously.

Job descriptions for the superintendent, principals and dean of students were also approved by the board. These job descriptions would be updated at the end of each year and reviewed by the board then, Jorgensen said.

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