School district's plan to sell Schultz School would lead to relocation of alternative center

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The school board plans to hire a real estate broker to help find a buyer for the 93-year-old building.

The Cape Girardeau School District would have to find a new home for its Alternative Education Center if the school board sells Schultz School as intended. School officials say that won't pose a hurdle to selling the building.

Patrick Morgan, who oversees facilities as executive director of administrative services for the school district, said Monday that one option is to relocate the alternative center to the central administrative offices building on Clark Street.

Morgan said the Clark Street building, which formerly served as the district's vocational school, is larger than the district needs for central administrative offices.

The school board decided last week to hire a real estate broker to help find a buyer for the 93-year-old building. The board has advertised for proposals from brokers. The proposals are due by noon Monday.

The school board could choose a broker at a special board meeting Monday night. The issue is expected to be discussed in closed session. "We wanted to act on that pretty quickly," said board president Sharon Mueller.

Serves 100 students

Schultz School is partly vacant. The Alternative Education Center uses the basement and first floors. A small Cape Girardeau Police Department substation is housed on the second floor. The third floor remains vacant, school officials said.

The school district provides the space to the city free of charge.

The alternative school serves about 100 students a day including those taking daytime classes, attending an after-school program or serving short-term suspensions from the middle, junior or senior high schools, said center director Mike Dorris.

In contrast, about 300 students occupied the building each year when it served as a seventh-grade center, he said.

Even though the building is partially vacant, the district spent nearly $30,000 on electric, water and natural gas utilities for the structure in fiscal 2005 to 2006, Morgan said. That doesn't even count other routine maintenance costs, he said.

School officials long have wanted to sell the aging brick building at 101 S. Pacific St. They thought the building had been sold in 2002, only to have the sale fall through.

Last fall, the board rejected the single bid of a Kansas City-area construction company that wanted to buy the building and property for $350,000. School officials believe they can sell the building for more money, particularly if a potential buyer can obtain state tax credits.

Morgan said that even if the building were sold, the alternative school might not have to move out for another year.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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Mark Bliss
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