ES school board to sell old high school

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

By Kathryn Lucariello

Carroll County News

EUREKA SPRINGS -- The Eureka Springs School Board has voted to offer the old high school campus for sale for $995,000.

The vote came at the board meeting June 17 after board member Tom Freehling presented an appraisal analysis done by Reed & Associates, Inc. of Fayetteville.

The appraisal was done on a "restricted use" format, the documents state. The appraisal is for the land with all the buildings on it.

"He looked over all the documents pertaining to the school and estimated the property is worth between $900,000 and $1 million, if it's to be used for education," Freehling said. "From there, it's up in the air."

He said so far he has one person with "fairly substantial interest in it."

"The price would probably come down if the buyer had to raze all the buildings and go through the Planning Commission and approvals," said board member Bruce Knapp.

"There are feelings (in the community) about selling everything but the gym," said board member Rudy Sanchez. "The community would like us not to lose the gym."

But that may not be practical to accomplish the sale, noted board President Rusty Windle.

"Nobody's going to buy it with one part excepted. But we also have the option of someone comes and wants to partner with us to do something with that gym."

The board also heard an update on the new high school from Laura and Charles Morrison of Morrison Architecture. They said they had met with the city and with technical people.

The kitchen will be expanded to a full kitchen, which will mean narrowing the corridors somewhat. Other changes, such as to classroom wings, have been made.

Charles said they have met with all the teachers, coaches and staff and have incorporated their ideas as much as possible. They are ready to solidify the design, get the schematics to the state and get cost estimates, which they said should start coming in the following week from Kinco Contractors.

The board received preliminary changes to the student handbooks from each of the three principals.

High school Principal Kathy Lavender said the alcohol and drug policy has been clarified to distinguish between drug screening and drug possession. Screening is mandatory for all students who participate in extracurricular activities. Possession of any amount of drugs found on a student, in their book bag or purse, lockers or cars is subject to immediate 10-day suspension, which she said is "standard across the state."

Other changes include dress length (no more than three inches above the knee regardless of leg covering), removal of lunch detention and removal of open campus for anyone not a senior.

In other business the board:

* Heard Carr report the school district will appeal a decision by the state to withdraw its scheduled funding of around $176,000, based on percentage of tax collections. The district had already budgeted that money, and its loss could have an effect on teacher and staff pay raises.

* Heard Carr say he is also working to be able to spend half a million dollars in federal stimulus money without having to tie the entire $10.6 million new high school project to federal guidelines, which differ somewhat from the state guidelines the project is in compliance with.

* Heard Carr say the district is in communication with the City of Eureka Springs, who is insisting the new high school will need a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), as the land is zoned R-2 residential. "The state says we don't need a CUP," he said.

* Accepted the resignations of Frances Otto, speech therapist, and Truett Thomas and Joe Robinson, bus drivers; and approved the hire of LaDonna Padgett as a cafeteria worker.

* Heard that two seats on the school board will be open this fall, Position 5, currently held by Rudy Sanchez, and Position 6, held by Bruce Knapp. Candidates must live in the school district, not be an employee of the district and must circulate petitions to obtain at least 20 signatures of registered voters. Circulation can begin June 23, and petitions must be filed between July 16 and July 23.

For more information or to obtain a packet, contact the Carroll County Clerk's office.

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