Janesville30.5°

Milton School District says it could save thousands with building purchase

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
August 13, 2011
— The Milton School District reports it could save about $64,000 a year over the next five years by buying the former Daland building and relocating its district central office and MECAS alternative school there.

The district unveiled the estimate this week in a cost analysis. District officials plan to present the school board Monday with a comparison on the costs of leasing space for its central office and alternative school versus relocating them to the Daland building.


The district plans to ask residents to authorize buying the Daland building at a special electorate meeting Monday, Aug. 29.


The building has been vacant since February, when former tenant CESA 2 relocated to Whitewater.


The district now leases space for its district offices at the Shaw Municipal Building, 430 E. High St., and it houses its alternative school in leased space at the Burdick building, 35 Plumb St. A district analysis shows rent, utility and operations at those locations will cost the district an average of $138,000 a year over the next five years.


The analysis shows that if the district bought the Daland building and moved its central office and the alternative school there, it could save about $320,000 over the next five years—an average of about $64,000 a year.


The district reports that estimate is based on the assumption that the district would pay for the building using district cash reserves. Officials have said the district could use a blend of reserve funds and borrowing to buy and upgrade the building. The board is not required to decide how the district would finance the building prior to the electorate meeting Aug. 29.


Business Services Director Mary Ellen Van Valin told the board earlier this month that the potential cost of buying the Daland building is not factored into the district’s preliminary 2011-12 budget. Residents will vote on the budget Monday at the district’s annual meeting.


It could cost the district as much as $1.4 million to buy and upgrade the Daland building. The district has agreed to an option to buy the building from a private owner for $875,000 and has negotiated that price down to $850,000.


The district estimated this month it would have to sink an additional $500,000 into work in the Daland building, including changes to room layouts and code upgrades that would be required to use the building as a school.


Board member Besty Lubke told district staff she wanted more details on costs for upgrades before asking residents to OK buying the building.


The district this week released figures by consultant Plunkett Rayisch Architects that show it could cost the district $100,000 in code and maintenance items, which district officials have said would include a sprinkler system.


And it could cost the district as much as $190,000 for interior construction and security changes as well as HVAC and electrical costs tied to new room layouts in the building.



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