Janesville46.2°

Milton School District OKs Daland buy

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
September 13, 2011
— The Milton School Board is moving forward with plans to buy the former Daland Fine Arts Center, leaving on the table a competing offer by the city to instead sell the school district the Shaw Municipal Building.

The school board Monday night unanimously approved a plan to buy the Daland building at 448 E. High St. for a negotiated price of $850,000.


The district plans to move its central offices and MECAS alternative school from rented space into the Daland building. With purchase price and renovations combined, the plan will cost $1.4 million, according to district officials.


Board president Rob Roy said the district could seal the deal with the building's owners by October. Pending construction bids, renovations could start later this fall.


The district electorate authorized the purchase of the Daland building Aug. 29, the same day that the city offered a competing deal to instead sell the district the Shaw building at 430 E. High St.


Roy said the district decided not to pursue the city's offer because it would have cost the district about $1 million more in improvements to the Shaw building compared to plans for renovations at the Daland building.


"Basically, it would be a gut-and-remodel project in the Shaw (building)," while most comparable renovations at the Daland building were done in 1999, Roy said.


The city had offered to sell the Shaw building for $900,000, but an analysis of the building by district engineer Plunkett Raysich Architects showed it would need about $1.5 million in improvements to convert it to district offices and an alternative school.


That would have meant a total price tag for the Shaw building of about of $2.5 million, according to figures supplied Monday by Superintendent Mike Garrow.


The figures showed the Shaw building would have needed $797,000 in remodeling alone. For instance, Garrow said, it would have cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring bathrooms at the Shaw building up to modern accessibility standards.


The Shaw building houses City Hall, the Milton Public Library and the school district's central offices. The city proposed the sale because it's considering a plan to move the library, City Hall and the police and fire departments into the Burdick building, a 100,000-square-foot industrial complex at 15 Plumb St.


The Burdick building is becoming vacant next year because its main tenant, ANGI Energy Systems, plans to move to another location in Rock County.


City Administrator Jerry Schuetz has said if the district decided not to buy the Shaw building, the city could examine selling it privately.


Under a financing plan approved Monday, the district would buy the Daland building using refinanced debt that the district would pay back with money from district reserves, Business Services Director Mary Ellen Van Valin said.


The district also would set aside money from district reserves to pay for improvements to the building, district officials said.


The plan would draw down district reserves from about $6.3 million to $4.9 million, Van Valin said.



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