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Closed Maplewood School a dilemma for District 26

CARY – Lacking a buyer willing to pay a minimum of $2.2 million, District 26 officials are considering options for the closed Maplewood School, including dividing the property to make it more attractive to developers.

The minimum price was set at $2.2 million because the district wants to use proceeds from a sale to move its transportation department from Maplewood. It would have to do that if the whole property is sold.

The district wants to break even on any potential relocation, Superintendent Brian Coleman said.

Among possibilities is moving the transportation department to another of district property, adding on to the village's public works garage, or reparceling the Maplewood property to keep transportation there and sell the rest.

"The problem is we don't have a viable alternative to move busing operations to anywhere else at this point in time," board member Scott Coffey said.

The district is looking into the costs of demolishing the school building on the property.

Board member Jason Larry said he would rather wait for a developer to show serious interest in the property before dividing it. The district needs to think about many factors in reparceling, such as where easements would go and a developer's needs, he said.

"I'd rather have a developer come in and say, 'I can't use that bus barn, so let's parcel it.' Let's work with him on his plan and where he needs the line ... and do it all at once," Larry said.

The district also could accept new offers for the property with no minimum price and specify that it wants to retain access to the bus barn. Reparceling can take place once someone is interested in buying the property, Director of Finance and Operations T. Ferrier said.

Reparceling is estimated to cost about $13,500 to delineate lines for water and sanitary easements and could take 12 to 16 weeks. The district is putting together a comprehensive review of its options with a cost analysis and hopes to have it ready in December or January, Ferrier said.

Maplewood is one of three schools the district has closed since 2004 because of declining enrollment and budget cuts.

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