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Daland plans are moving forward

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
August 30, 2011
— The Milton School District is moving forward with plans to buy the Daland building, even as the city of Milton is offering the district a deal to buy the Shaw Municipal Building instead.

Monday night, district voters at a special electorate meeting at Northside Intermediate School voted 83-53 to authorize the Milton School Board to move forward buying the Daland building. The authorization doesn't tie the district to the purchase, but it does give the board power to negotiate and potentially seal the $1.4 million purchase.


Despite voter approval Monday, the board plans to delay finalizing a deal to buy the building until it's had to time to review the city's emerging offer on the Shaw building.


On Monday, one hour before the district took the Daland building proposal to the electorate, City Administrator Jerry Schuetz met with the school board in a special session at City Hall. It was there he pitched the district a $900,000 sale option on the Shaw building.


Schuetz said the city is considering plans to move City Hall and the Milton Public Library, along with the city's police and fire departments, into the 100,000 square-foot Burdick building, an industrial property at 15 Plumb St.


Schuetz said the city learned earlier this summer the Burdick building's main occupant, ANGI Corporation, has potential plans to move to another location in Rock County.


The company employs about 90 people, Schuetz said. He added that the city has been holding off on the announcement pending ongoing discussions with ANGI.


The city has been in talks with the Burdick building's owner about a plan that would involve the his financing improvements to the building and allowing the city to rent it while the city pays down part of the purchase cost with money from sale of the Shaw building.


Schuetz said the plan could cost less than an earlier $6.5 million plan to build a police and fire station.


"The major issue is how to fill a 100,000-square-foot industrial property," Schuetz told the Gazette on Monday.


Schuetz told the school board that the city would want to move out of the Shaw building by August 2012. He also indicated the city was offering the sale because it fit with the timing of the district's own hunt for a building.


The Shaw building has 23,000 square feet of space and has had $360,000 in upgrades in recent years, Schuetz said Monday. The building has an estimated appraisal at $1.3 million, Schuetz said.


School board President Rob Roy said the board will consider the city's offer alongside its Daland building decision. The board has directed district staff to get more information about the Shaw building, located at 430 E. High Street.


Roy said the board wondered how much it would cost to retrofit the building to use it as a school.


"Right now, all things being equal, the Shaw would cost more money because the asking price is higher," Roy said.


The school district has had plans to buy the Daland building to relocate its central offices and MECAS alternative school there. The district has estimated it could save $65,000 a year in rent that it now pays to lease space for the offices and school.


The district holds an option to buy the Daland building until Oct. 1, and it has agreed to a purchase price of $850,000. The district estimates it would cost $500,000 in upgrades to turn the building into school space.


Roy said Monday that the board will decide by Sept. 12 how it would finance the Daland building purchase. Options include using district reserve funds, borrowing, and refinancing debt, or a blend of the three.



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