Saturday, September 20, 2014

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Board of Education Hears Audubon Options

At the Board of Education meeting on Sept. 24, Chief Financial Officer Bob Beckwith presented  the Board of Education with information on the current state of the former Audubon Elementary School and the viability of the structure. Last winter, the boiler functionality was questionable, however school district maintenance crew was able to nurse the heating system through the winter since there was a purchase agreement in place with Fareway Stores.

Currently, there are no interested parties in purchasing the property, nor has the school district received any purchase agreements. As another cold weather season approaches, the boiler system will not make it through the winter without some significant repairs. It has already been tagged for inspection and will need to be repaired if it is going to be used this winter. Beckwith did get an estimate from a boiler repair shop and the costs look to be between $25-30,000.

The structure has been vacant for 3 1/2 years. The annual cost of operating the building (keeping gas, water and electricity running) in its current condition is approximately $30,000. There have also been some ongoing costs associated with attempted break-ins that have occurred in the last couple of months.

Beckwith offered three options to consider:

  1. Turn off gas and water to the building but maintain electrical to keep the fire and security alarms functioning.
  2. Repair the boiler and maintain the heating system.
  3. Demolish the building.

At the Oct. 22 board meeting, Beckwith will have a cost comparison of all three options and a recommendation from the Administration. He will continue to market the property with Ruhl and Ruhl.

Short History:

  • August 2009/June 2010 – Audubon Elementary was used as a campus for the Rock Island Center for Math and Science while the new building was under construction.
  • September 2010 – Board of Education declared Audubon Elementary School unnecessary for the use by the School District and declared the building surplus.
  • December 2010 – the Board of Education approved a resolution to accept sealed bids for the sale of Audubon Elementary.
  • January 2011 – Sealed bids were due and no bids were submitted.
  • February 2011 – Board of Education entered into an agreement with Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate for the marketing and sale of Audubon Elementary after the agreement with Mel Foster expired.
  • May 2012 – Board of Education entered into an agreement with Ruhl and Ruhl Commercial Company for the marketing and sale of Audubon Elementary after the agreement with Mel Foster expired.
  • November 2012 – Board of Education entered into a purchase agreement with Fareway Stores for the purchase of Audubon Elementary.
  • June 2013 – Fareway Stores terminates purchase agreement.

At the Board of Education meeting on Oct. 22, Chief Financial Officer Bob Beckwith reviewed the background information on the Audubon school since its closing in 2010 and presented bid information gathered in the last couple of weeks in regards to boiler repair and demolition.

Four options presented to the board:
1. Shut off all utilities
2. Repair the boiler
3. Demolition of building
4. Accept purchase offer

Bids to repair the boiler were received on Thursday, October 10, 2013 by the following:
Crawford Company, Rock Island, Illinois $26,500
Old’s Boiler, Moline, Illinois $27,398
Ragan Mechanical, Davenport, Iowa $55,000

Demolition bids were also opened on Thursday, October 10, 2013. The contractors were required to attend a pre-bid session before they could turn in a bid.
American Demolition, Elgin, Illinois $398,800
Brandt Construction, Milan, Illinois $286,405
Lester Construction, Rock Island, Illinois $224,450
Valley Construction, Rock Island, Illinois $224,300

The accept purchase offer option was included in case there was a viable offer made on the building. Beckwith reviewed pros and cons of each option, as well as projected costs for each option over the next three years. Several members in the audience gave their comments to the board on what should be done with the school.

After some discussion concluded, the Board of Education voted unanimously to demolish Audubon Elementary and accept the lowest responsible bid of $224, 300 from Valley Construction.

A timeline for demolition will be developed by the end of week Oct. 28.