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Lincoln School attracts a buyer

July 18, 2012
Kylie Saari - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Fairmont Area Schools has found a buyer for Lincoln School.

Two bids were submitted after the city changed the building's zoning from residential to business.

Pending approval by the Minnesota Commissioner of Finance, the building will be sold for $11,100 to George and Gayla Properties LLC of Meadville, Mo.

Unfortunately for the local school district, any money earned through the sale will not help its budget.

"Any money we accept we don't get to keep," said Superintendent Joe Brown. "It all goes to the state because of state bonds on the building."

Still, selling the school will save the district money on maintenance and upkeep.

The new buyer intends to lease space to Stepping Stones and Head Start, programs currently occupying the building, as well as seek additional tenants, according to school district officials.

District programs vacated the building before last school year, when they were moved to the new Fairmont Elementary addition.

When the district put the building up for sale, it told the Alternative Learning Center, Day Treatment Center, Stepping Stones Child Care Center and Head Start to look for a new home since the building would be sold or closed by June 30, 2012.

Hopes were high when a proposed buyer came forward with a plan to keep at least some of the programs on site and turn the building into apartments or dorms. But the plan fell through, and a contract with Stepping Stones surfaced, indicating the district was obligated to house the program for two more years.

The ALC and Day Treatment Center, operated by Southern Plains Educational Cooperative, moved to another site. Stepping Stones and Head Start were moved to another portion of the building so at least some of the site could be shut down to save costs.

If approved by the commissioner of finance, the sale will result in the immediate transfer of the property. The commissioner has 60 days to make a decision.

The other bidder on the property was Chamber of Commerce of Southern Minnesota, which offered $1.

In other business Tuesday, the school board approved the resignation of Mike Plucinski. Plucinski served as the 9th- and 10th-grade computer project administrator, physics teacher, and knowledge bowl and robotics team coach. He has accepted a position at another school district.



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