2011-12-07 / Front Page

Archbold School Board Purchases Church Property

The Archbold Area School Board agreed to pay $185,000 to the Archbold Evangelical Church for land adjacent to the district elementary school.

The action came during a special meeting, Thursday night, Dec. 1.

The vote to purchase the property came after an executive session lasting about 25 minutes.

All board members were present. Included in the executive session were Bob Aschliman and John Downey, who were elected to the board during the Nov. 8 general election.

Aschliman and Downey won’t take their seats until January.

The parcel, which covers between five and six acres, is on the southeast corner of Park Street and Blue Streak Drive. It abuts the district bus lot on the south. It includes a parking lot and storage building.

There are no immediate plans to build on the site, but the property is seen as a part of the home of a future replacement for Archbold Middle School.

In a prepared statement, board members “stress that no immediate plans exist for the development or use of the land.

“Rather, much like business leaders, farmers, and families in our communities who must always be thinking ahead and planning for their future, the Board of Education is acting on its obligation to chart a course for the long-term viability, vibrancy, and excellence of our school district.”

2009

Board members said in their statement they were initially “approached by leaders of Archbold Evangelical Church regarding acquisition of this property as early as 2009.

“Since that time, the board has tabled the discussion of the acquisition multiple times, obtained an officially licensed appraisal of the property’s value, and consulted with SSOE, the architectural firm responsible for designing and building both Archbold’s current high school and elementary school buildings.

“SSOE’s consultation confi rmed that the Park Street- Blue Streak Drive property would provide adequate space and reasonable logistics for the district to consider a building project in the future, when deemed necessary.

“For example, the board is mindful that the current middle school building is nearing 100 years of age, and is also aware that the expenditures made to solidify and upgrade the building in the late 1990s were only a temporary solution for extending the life of an aging facility.

“While the need to replace the middle school may not be imminent, it is certainly foreseeable.”

Board members said in their statement that they were “keenly aware of general economic conditions and the timing of this decision for our district.

“Nonetheless, the opportunity to acquire a land parcel of this size, directly abutting the school’s high school and elementary campuses, is rare, and may likely never occur again.”

“Thus after much consideration, appropriate due diligence and investigation, and ultimately arriving at a price and terms for the acquisition that are both fair and equitable, the board has elected to utilize the school’s permanent improvement funds to make this investment in our district’s future possible.

“The permanent improvement fund consists of monies that have been previously and expressly earmarked for capital improvement projects such as this acquisition.

“The fund is entirely separate from the school’s general fund, which is used to provide directly for the cost of student instruction.”

Lease Back

The board agreed to lease the storage building on the property back to the church.

Under the agreement, the church will pay the school district $1 for the lease. The church can occupy the building for up to eight years.

The school board may ask church officials to vacate the building at any time, but must give six months notice.

Board members will meet again for their regular monthly meeting, Monday, Dec. 19, 7 pm, in the AHS media center.

The district’s annual organizational meeting has been set for Monday, Jan. 9, 6 pm.–David Pugh

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