The Huron Valley Schools Board of Education on Monday, Dec. 3 rejected an offer by Highland Township to buy the Highland Middle School building from the district.
Township Supervisor Rick Hamill was authorized by the township Board of Trustees last week to enter negotiations with the district to purchase the building.
“I tendered the offer,” Hamill said Monday, prior to the school board’s meeting. “Now we have to let them go through their process to either laugh at it or what.”
Hamill on Monday declined to discuss the amount of the offer.
Kim Root, spokeswoman for the school district, said yesterday, Tuesday, Dec. 4 that the offer was discussed and rejected at the school board’s meeting on Monday.
“The board made a motion to reject an offer by the Highland Township Board to purchase the school for $1,” she said.
Proposals believed by the district and others to be on a fast track in the state Legislature included provisions calling for a statewide inventory of used school buildings so they can be leased or sold to other educational entities. Board of Education President Sean Carlson said the bills create a sense of urgency to move up the timetable to sell or demolish the middle school building, as well as other schools closed by the district.
The township board in September voted to decline purchasing the middle school located at 305 N. John Street, citing maintenance costs as an obstacle. Utility costs alone have been estimated at $40,000 a year. However, the sense of urgency and a desire to utilize the school and its property reopened discussions about the potential purchase among newly elected township officials.
Hamill said the property is more than a school, and suggested several possible uses if the district entertained the offer, including a park, a business incubator for the township’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA), providing land for possible sewer infrastructure, or other community uses.
“This is kind of a shot in the dark,” Hamill said. “We had a last minute opportunity to see what we can do there.”