How would you like to own a complex of buildings that once housed the Harrison Junior High School? If the price is right, you could.
The Harrison School Board voted Tuesday night to solicit offers from Realtors or other entities that could help the school sell the property for the best offer.
The board that night refinanced the bonds that saw additions to the Middle School and High School that allowed the district to vacate the old junior high in the fall of 2017.
The complex has been unused since that time. It’s also been the victim of vandalism and break-ins on a fairly regular basis.
The state has required the district to keep utilities hooked to the buildings, which Superintendent Stewart Pratt said costs about $106,000 a year.
Earlier this year, the district had the buildings and property appraised in anticipation of a possible sale.
The appraisals were broken down into two sections and presented to the board in June. The first was for the entry and offices, the classroom section and the gymnasium.
The 3.5 acres on which the buildings sit was valued at $300,000. With the roughly 64,000-square-foot buildings added, the total appraisal was $1.4 million.
Pratt said the gym is still used for school sports practice and some community events. To leave the gym alone and demolish the old classroom section was estimated to cost about $220,000, including asbestos abatement.
The second appraisal was for the old armory that served as the cafeteria, the band building, a storage building and the round cistern house where some property is also stored. Pratt said the cistern structure has limited use because he was informed the storm sewers back up into it during heavy rains.
The 1.6 acres alone was valued at $40,000, then another $360,000 with the 21,250 square feet of building space.
In June, Pratt said the district could take bids for purchase, but the property had to sell at fair market value. Board members doubted that any buyers would pay the appraised values.
But the superintendent said Tuesday night he had appealed to the state Board of Education and was granted a waiver from the fair market value requirement, so the district could sell for the highest offer.
Pratt suggested the property be sold in the two parcels as they were appraised. The property would not include the old football field, the field house and property behind it because it’s still used for practice and could eventually be offered to the city to expand the park system.
Pratt went on to say he thought it would be best to get bids from Realtors with experience selling such properties, but he asked for board input.
When asked if the district should retain the gymnasium, Pratt said he felt there might be a possibility to replace it with another structure in the future that would also operate as a FEMA storm shelter.
Board member Mark Martin agreed with Pratt’s assessment regarding bids from Realtors. Board president Mitch Magness said there could be some out-of-town entities that might be interested in helping the district, but he asked Pratt to first contact the Harrison Board of Realtors for guidance.