Old Greenfield school may finally find a buyer

District seeks authority to sell Chapman property as sale talks continue

Dec. 17, 2013

Greenfield — With an agreement apparently close on the sale of the former Chapman Elementary School, the Greenfield School Board will ask residents for authority to sell it.

In a special meeting that will be similar to the district annual meeting, residents in attendance can act on the request. On Monday, the board set the meeting for 6 p.m. Jan. 27.

Unknown details

While the board needs the authority for a sale, the meeting won't focus on the buyer or the potential sale itself, or even guarantee that the property at 8500 W. Chapman Ave. will be sold.

"It doesn't mean we will actually do it. It gives us authority," board member Cathy Walsh noted.

However, the district is, in fact, involved in closed-session negotiations to sell the school. Officials acknowledge the talks involve a small land swap, but School Board members aren't revealing any details as of yet. And there is no information on whether the former school would be razed or remodeled and used.

Despite a slight increase in enrollment, the district has no use for the property, School Board President Bruce Bailey said.

"Other schools are in better shape, and we don't need this school anymore," he said.

Chapman's past

It has been a rather long trail for the former Chapman School, which has been for sale for at least five years and had not been used as a school for many years before that, said Bailey said.

It had served as the home of the district offices for years, he said. Recreation programs also were held there, and it was used as a polling place.

At one point several years ago, the district entered into a sale agreement with a developer for the building, then still in use for the district's administrative offices. In fact, the district factored the hoped-for sale into its decision to build a new administration building on the remodeled Greenfield High School campus, for which the district borrowed $2 million.

Bailey said he voted against both the sale, which he felt involved too many contingencies, and the proposal to borrow money for a new administration building, because of the potential for the Chapman sale to fall through.

As it turned out, that was prophetic. The sale, which would have covered the new facility loan in full, did fall through, even as the administration building was under construction, Bailey recalled.

"At one time we had two administration buildings," he said.

Despite the lost sale, the district pushed forward with its new facility plans, leaving Chapman as excess property.

The district is paying for the loan through other resources.

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