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Ringsted school to be razed

October 23, 2012
Jenn Brookens , Fairmont Sentinel

ARMSTRONG - The fate of the Ringsted school building is decided, with Armstrong-Ringsted school board agreeing Monday to let Michaelson Excavation of Armstrong dispose of the building.

"It's a unique opportunity presented to us by Michaelsons, in that they would demo the building at their expense," said A-R board president Jim Boyer.

Before making its decision, the board considered two options. The first was the offer from Michaelsons. The second was to keep the building and run the utilities for another year to give the Save the Ringsted Building committee time to become a co-op and take possession of the school.

The committee also asked for additional school property, like the air conditioning unit and kitchen equipment. Michaelson's offered allowed the district to keep the equipment in question.

The district needs to pay for asbestos abatement, no matter which scenario was chosen. Estimates range from $60,000 to $100,000.

"The costs of keeping it open are estimated high," said superintendent Matt Berninghaus said. "We took our utility costs and divided them by 12, and it was about $3,000 a month. But we also have to look at the liabilities. With the boilers running, they need to be inspected still. Will there be water leakage? If it gets wet, will there be mold? Will it start to smell? We also have to worry about vandals; we already had one window broken. ... I'm creating a sense of urgency here, because we need to move and make a decision."

Boyer stressed that they were trying to also think of the city of Ringsted as they made the decision on the building's fate.

"We have turned down offers on the building, because we felt they would not be good stewards to the city," he said. "As a Ringsted taxpayer, I certainly don't want this to go back on them."

The board unanimously approved the demolition offer.

Berninghaus laid out a timeline for the school, which the board also approved:

o An auction of all the remaining building contents will be Nov. 3.

o Public notice for the land and building transfer will be published starting Nov. 7.

o Abatement of the asbestos also will begin in November.

o A public hearing for the transfer of ownership will be 5:30 p.m. Nov. 26, just before the board's regular meeting at 6 p.m.

In other business, Berninghaus went over petition language for the Armstrong-Ringsted and Sentral school districts, which will be ready to be reviewed at the November meeting.

Concerns for board representation that had been asked at the last meeting were briefly discussed. The current district lines would be erased and any new lines for the consolidated district would be based on population numbers from the last census.



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