Public input needed regarding Central school
The cost to keep the vacated Central school in Holton in good condition is now estimated at about $100,000, which is about twice as much as the Holton school district has been unofficially offered reportedly for the old building and grounds located about a block and half east of the Town Square.
The cost to stop and fix wall and roof water leaks at the old school was recently estimated at about $79,000 by a Shawnee firm that bids such repair projects, the school board was informed recently.
And the cost to clean-up the interior of the building, including the removal of some mold caused by water leaking onto carpeting, has been estimated at about $17,000 by an Olathe firm that specializes in that kind of work, the board was told.
There are, of course, lots of other ongoing expenses for the old school, such as insurance and groundskeeping and monthly utility costs and fees.
The Central school building was built in the 1950s and was added onto in the 1980s, it has been reported. Concerns about overcrowding and the general lack of adequate educational space led to the bond issue approval that paid for the new school.
The school board, in my view, has few options left to consider regarding Central at this point and needs public input.
Option 1: Sell the building and grounds as they are – foregoing any further expense to district taxpayers.
Option 2: Pay to have the building fixed and then sell it, knowing that it will continue to cost the next owner a substantial amount of money to maintain the building and convert it to other business uses.
Option 3: Pay to have the building fixed and decide the district is going to use it for offices, eliminating the need for the district office building at 515 Pennsylvania Ave.
Note: Some realtors have told Supt. Bob Davies that the district’s 515 Pennsylvania Ave. property would likely sell faster than the old Central school – and for more money.
Option 4: Tear down the old Central school and keep the property for possible future use in the school district.
At this point, it is not known what the estimated cost would be to tear down the old school, but there will be extra fees due to the presence of encapsulated asbestos in the old part of the school.
My view is that - as sad as it is to say- when the cost to maintain a vacated building approaches the cost to tear it down, you tear it down or give it away for a song.
Taxpayers should not be asked to pay for the maintenance of a vacated building.
Take a lot of photos of the old school if you are sentimental about the old school, but then tear it down.
What do you think?
If you are a taxpayer in Holton USD 336, do yourself a favor and share your views now with the school board.