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South Bend Community School Corporation considers selling administration building to the city

South Bend Schools
Justin Hicks
/

The South Bend Community School Corporation is considering selling its downtown administration building to the city of South Bend as part of its effort to “right-size” the school district.

In a presentation to the school board Monday night, school officials said the city was offering $2.8 million for the building, which was originally purchased for $608,000 in 2004.

Based on an appraisal conducted last year, the district would net a $300,000 profit from the sale, plus $400,000 a year in deferred operating costs and $750,000 in deferred maintenance.

That works out to just over $5 million dollars the district can reinvest into classrooms over the next 10 years.

Board President John Anella said the sale “makes organizational and economic sense” for a district that’s had to close seven schools over the last few years.

“We’ve asked a lot of people to make a lot of sacrifices, so to ask the administration to sacrifice their beautiful building only seems fair,” he said.

If the sale is approved, the city would move its offices from the County-City Building into the district’s administration building.

The school corporation’s administrative staff would move into the Brown Community Learning Center on the city’s northwest side, which houses the district’s family and community engagement program.

The district chose Brown over Hamilton Traditional School and Washington High School for its available, flexible space and parking facilities. Officials also cited the opportunity to create a “wellness hub” for employees onsite.

But board member Oletha Jones objected to the site, saying it would be inaccessible to students and families.

“It’s in one of the extreme areas of the city,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of people that’s going to have a difficult time getting on that side of town.”

Jones also expressed concern that the public hadn’t been allowed to weigh in on the sale.

The move still needs to be approved by the state Attorney General’s office, as well as the South Bend Common Council and the Board of Public Works.

If approved, school officials anticipate moving by the end of the year.

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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