By TRAVIS MORSE email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — District 80 officials have decided to move forward with selling the now empty Benjamin Franklin Early Childhood Center.
The next step will be to advertise for bids in the local media, which will take place soon. The district will accept a minimum bid of $35,000.
Superintendent Mike Green said he would like to see the building sold by mid-December. That way, the district could save about $2,000 by not having to winterize the structure.
The Franklin building is located at the corner of Sixth Street and Harrison Street.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Green said of the sale. “District 80 does not have a need for this school building anymore. We’ve explored many options for what we could use the building for and have not come up with a good plan to keep it.”
The District 80 Board of Education approved a resolution to advertise for bids for the sale at Wednesday night’s board meeting. This action took place following a closed session.
Green said the district will advertise for bids for three consecutive weeks.
He added that he’s already had two local groups express interest in the building. One of the potential buyers is a community group and the other is a “business person,” Green said.
“Two local people have met with me on several occasions. I’ve taken them through the building,” Green said.
There have not been classes at the Franklin building since May. Recently, the district’s pre-school program was moved out of the Franklin site to the Dr. Andy Hall Early Education Center.
Selling the building would have myriad benefits, said Assistant Superintendent Aletta Lawrence.
Not only would it save the district on heating and maintenance costs, but it would also help the community by finding a good use for the building, she said.
“An empty building isn’t good for a community,” Lawrence said. “We want to see somebody be able to utilize it. … It’s in good shape. It was built in the ‘50s and it was built to last.”
If the district does not receive a minimum bid of $35,000, the school board will have to go back and review its options, Green said.
Other District 80 Board actions Wednesday included:
n Approval of the resignation of Debbie Backes as an eighth grade teacher for Casey Middle School’s after-school program.
n Approval of hiring four session attendants for the Mt. Vernon Teachers’ Conference on Oct. 24 and 25. They include: Armondo Settles, Elizabeth Bradford, Joann Standerfer, and Joyce Damron.
n Approval of hiring three people to help with parent group meetings at the Dr. Andy Hall Early Education Center. They include: Carla Steffy, Elizabeth Bradford, and Marcie Cates.
n Approval of hiring four people to work for the district’s before-school and after-school programs. They include: Sherry Keip, Gretchen Roberts, Rachel Lowery, and Letha Sieveking.