The Estherville Lincoln Central Community School District Board of Education Monday approved the purchase of the Tri-State Construction property on Seventh Avenue South and South 19th Street for $561,000.
The property will be used for district vehicles and other storage.
The purchase more than doubles the square feet the district currently has available. The district now has a total of 9,720 square feet in it current bus barn on South Second Avenue. In addition, the district has storage in rental sheds and at the old armory at the Emmet County Fairgrounds. The Tri-State property will increase that amount to $23,560. The current bus barn property is located on .6 acres while the Tri-State property is situated on 11.3 acres.
Superintendent Dick Magnuson said the district currently has 13 buses, 19 vans and cars and other items that need to be stored. He said the cost of building one bus building alone would approach $500,000.
In making the case to the board to buy the property, Magnuson said bringing the bus barns closer to the central campus would fit with Phase II improvements. The property is also located close to the football practice fields and so would provide convenient restrooms for players.
The board had met in closed session at an earlier time to discuss the property purchase. In bringing the issue before the board Monday night, Magnuson underscored the urgency of making an immediate offer.
"This is an opportunity I think you need to consider because it may not come up again."
Magnuson said the district has at lest $650,000 in unobligated sales tax and physical plant and equipment level money that could be used to buy the property. Sales tax money is restricted to the same use as PPEL and so it can't be used for general fund expenses.
"I see this as a golden opportunity," said board member Karen Butler of the proposal.
Magnuson said the district had the right of first refusal. However, if the board decided not to buy the property, said Magnuson, "My guess is tomorrow they'll sell it to someone else."
Board member Don Schiltz moved that the district buy the property "as long as Kate (business manager Kate Woods) says we have the money."
Board member Molly Jo Anderson seconded the motion and the board approved, with board member Mike Karels voting against the purchase.