Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Donegal approves method of sale for 2 closed schools
BY DEAN LEE EVANS, Correspondent
The fate of two vacant Donegal school buildings has been decided.
Board members on Jan. 10 approved two actions to remove the kindergarten center in Marietta and the Maytown Elementary School from the district's building inventory.
Both facilities were closed last year.
The board will place the kindergarten center up for sale through a local commercial real estate company while John M. Hess Auction Inc. of Marietta will hold an on-site public auction at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 18, for the Maytown Elementary School.
Last month, the district sought letters of interest from parties that might want to buy the buildings.
The district received four letters of interest for the kindergarten center and none for Maytown.
In addition, the letters of interest for the kindergarten center contained contingencies on the sale of the property such as inspections, sale of an existing property, zoning approvals and financing of potential projects.
Board member Steve Gault, chairman of the facilities committee, said last month that possible uses for the kindergarten center included a day care and a church.
The facilities committee decided the best course of action for the kindergarten center was to hire a broker and open the sale to a broader base of prospective buyers.
The kindergarten center property contains two parcels totaling 7.48 acres, including a 2.81-acre lot that houses the building and a 4.67-acre vacant lot.
The Maytown parcel is a 7.35-acre lot.
The four letters of interest for the kindergarten center contained cost proposals, but business manager Amy Swartz said Thursday that those amounts would remain sealed so as to not affect the appraisal and listing price of the property.
A possible sale price has not yet been determined.
The sale of the property through a broker concerned board member Ronald Melleby, who voted against the sale of the kindergarten center.
Melleby raised concerns about the 6 -percent commission a broker would receive following the sale of the building which would mean a $60,000 fee if the property sold for $1 million.
"That is fair and standard (broker commission)," Gault said.
Melleby asked why the property could not be sold in-house through the business office, which would save the district additional money.
Swartz said there were too many intricacies behind the private sale of a commercial property and that no one in the district office had either the time or experience to oversee a private sale.
Board member Robert Spayde asked if Maytown Elementary would have a minimum bid price attached to it, saying he didn't want to see the property sell for a dollar.
Swartz said a minimum auction bid would be placed on the property, but she did not elaborate on what that minimum would be.
Under the resolution for the auction, Hess Auction would receive a 1.5-percent commission on the sale of the Maytown property, or a minimum of $1,000, whichever fee is higher.
Donegal would be responsible for all advertising costs estimated between $3,000 and $4,000, which includes a 6-to-7-week advertising campaign in local print publications, on the Internet as well as on-site signage and full-color bills.
Swartz said that no other conditions could be placed on the property, such as its future use, which would be determined by zoning or land use requirements of the municipality.
She added that both buildings are offered "as-is."