School hopes to purchase old armory for bus ‘barn’

Cost could approach $300,000

The Greene County Schools board of education hopes to negotiate a one year lease for bus storage space at the Greene County Fairgrounds and then own a bus garage of its own before the 2017-18 school year.

The school board discussed the current lease agreement with the Greene County Fair board at the February and March meetings. The fair board had suggested a long term commitment, with an increase in the rental rate, as part of the planning process for a new cattle barn. The school board decided in March to earmark $68,000 in Grow Greene funds for the construction of a new bus “barn.”

The former National Guard Armory on County Road E-53 east of Jefferson was also suggested as an alternative to new construction.

School superintendent Tim Christensen reported to the school board at its April 20 meeting that transportation director Wayne Hougham had determined nine busses could be stored in the metal garage at the armory. New garage doors and a wash bay would be needed. Hougham said the needed work would cost $40,000-$50,000.

The county owns the armory. The secondary roads department acquired it from Greene County Development Corporation after the local National Guard unit was relocated. According to county engineer Wade Weiss, the 21,000 square-foot facility was purchased for $150,000, and another $70,000 was spent on roof repair, the parking area and brick work. In 2006, total value was tagged at $250,000, Weiss said.

The secondary roads department has used it for cold storage.

County board chair John Muir said when Weiss first mentioned the schools’ interest in the building to the supervisors that it had always been the county’s intention to sell the building should a better use for it be suggested. Muir said it was not viewed as a permanent acquisition, but the county bought it because it was available. He noted at the time that selling the building would require the county finding or building a new storage facility elsewhere.

The school board last week asked Christensen to begin work on a purchase agreement with the county with a July 1, 2017 closing, and to work with the fair board on a one-year lease for bus storage at the fairgrounds.

The board also asked for the total cost of needed modifications/improvements on the building. The board will also consider at its next meeting a different use for the Grow Greene funds.

The cost of the armory will come from the school district’s physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) funds.

 

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