Regent accepts bids for schoolThe city of Regent can no longer maintain its former school building and is looking to sell it, said Karen Kouba, city auditor.
The city of Regent can no longer maintain its former school building and is looking to sell it, said Karen Kouba, city auditor.
Bids will be accepted until Monday at the 7 p.m. Regent City Council meeting, when they will be opened.
“We’re hoping that someone will come into it and maybe put a business in there or do something worthwhile with it,” Kouba said.
The city can’t afford to heat the 29,671 square foot building, she said.
“If we shut off the heat and stuff, everything is just going to go downhill,” she said. “We just hate to see it just go to waste, so that’s kind of why we’re offering it for sale.”
Some have expressed interest in the building, though no bids had been turned into the city as of Thursday, she said.
Gary Greff, the artist who creates metal sculptures for The Enchanted Highway and president of the Enchanted Highway Foundation, said the foundation is interested in purchasing the building.
“Our goal is to go in this winter and work on making it into a 20-room motel,” Greff said. “That’s our goal, but a lot of water can go under the bridge yet, too.”
It would take more than $200,000 to convert the school into a motel, he estimated.
Greff feels the area needs more lodging and that it would add to The Enchanted Highway project.
If the school is converted to a motel, he would also like to start a dinner theater there.
“We feel it’s a necessary part of the whole project, to help keep people here,” Greff said. “We’d like to see Regent become a destination.”
The foundation has tried to get tour busses to come to the Regent area, but they’re only interested in destinations where lodging for 40 people is available, Greff said. A motel and a dinner theater during the summer would solve the problem, he added.
“At that point, we feel now we’ve got a reason for them to come down the road, a reason for them to stay in Regent and a place for them to stay,” Greff said.
The foundation has also secured a $12,000 Tourism Infrastructure and Expansion Grant to put toward remodeling the school, he added. If the city does not accept a bid from the foundation, the grant could not be used.
The city has put about $70,000 into the school since they purchased it for $1 about a year ago, Kouba said.
“Right after they had given it to us, there was a tin roof on it and we had high winds here and the roof had blown off,” Kouba said. “In two of the classrooms and the stage area it leaked, so there is some damage to the ceiling and the floor.”
The roof has been repaired, but the interior damage has not, she added.
City officials would like the sale to at least cover expenses incurred since the building was purchased Kouba said.
“Insurance did not cover everything because it was not occupied,” she said. “If there’s any excess I would think we would either put it in our general fund or put it in our city sales tax fund.”
Before the school closed in June 2009, it was used for students in fifth through eighth grades in the Mott-Regent school district.
“When the enrollment declined through those grades, they decided to close her up here and send everybody over to Mott,” she said.