Birmingham Public Schools, spanning some of the most affluent communities in the state, is considering bids to sell their central administration building and an unused bus lot due to “financial considerations”.
The District has received two offers for the BPS Administration Building located at 550 West Merrill and one for a portion of the transportation facility on Lincoln Street, across from the Birmingham Ice Arena.
Bid offers for the administration building have been for $2.5 million and $1.8 million approximately according to Deborah Piesz, Assistant Superintendent for BPS Business during the August 11 school board meeting. The potential buyers and plans for the location have not been identified by BPS.
Calls placed by The Highlander to Deborah Piesz were not returned at press time.
A previous appraisal of the building on March 15th, 2006 determined that the building was worth approximately $ 2.5 Million.
Although the District is not obligated to accept any offers, the funds from selling property would potentially go to technology upgrades and replacements.
In addition, based on the legal language of the proposal, the district is not obligated to sell to the “high bidder”.
In a recent email to BPS staff members unrelated to the possible sale, Superintendent David Larson said that BPS has cut $22 million from its budget in the past seven years.
“School districts must have adequate resources to provide every child with a quality education,” wrote Larson in the email. “We must have dynamic vision and a firm commitment to long range fiscal stability for public education.”
Despite budget cuts, the BPS hopes that the potential sale of property could go towards school funding.
“In the past, the District has sold property and the net proceeds of the sale were used to fund capital purchases such as computer, technology upgrades, and other fixed assets,” said Marcia Wilkinson, Spokesperson for the Birmingham School District.
Should the District sell the administration building, Wilkinson said they will not purchase any new properties to relocate their employees. There is no word at this time where BPS plans to move its offices if they were to accept an offer.
Birmingham’s Parks and Recreation Committee has recently considered purchasing the vacant bus lot, but no offer has been made at present.
“We now strongly recommend that bus yard [for a dog park],” Keith Vosburgh, chairman of the Parks and Recreation committee said in an interview with the The Birmingham Bloomfield Paper on September 3rd.
Vosburgh also stated that the location is desirable for a community dog park because it is within city limits, has accessible parking, and has a reasonable amount of space.
Lauren Wood, director of Birmingham Public Services told The Highlander that the bus lot is one of several sites that the Board has considered for a possible dog park.
“Property negotiations are very premature,” said Wood. “The site has not gone before commission yet,”
BPS is accepting proposals for properties until October 30, 2009. In the meantime, BPS will continue to consider offers as they come in.
“The Faculties Sub-Committee of the Board of Education is reviewing offers and hope to make a decision by the end of the calendar year,” Wilkinson said.
Piesz also said the District has applied for “the America Recovery and Reform Act (ARRA) – Qualified School Construction Bond program.” The bond the district with a $11.3 Million in funds.
The application allows the District to get in line for approval from the State of Michigan for an allocation of funds, which our offered on a “first come, first serve” basis. If the District is granted the funds, approval by the Board of Education will be necessary in order to proceed.