The Ladysmith School Board voted 6-0 with one abstention Wednesday to sell the Lindoo Avenue former elementary school to the city of Ladysmith. The sale approved April 15 includes the entire parcel, school building and grounds.
To acquire the property the city will give the school district $1 plus a narrow 1.5 acre strip of city-owned land at the entrance to Ladysmith Middle & High School along U.S. 8.
The city council had been seeking to acquire the Lindoo Avenue property for more than a year, seeking Community Development Block Grant money and a private developer to convert the school into workforce housing.
The school board had been seeking to relieve itself of the property and liability for more than a year as it downsizes from three to two schools as enrollment declines.
The city council had sought to partner with the school board on the project, tapping into the school district’s Community Service Fund tax revenue to finance a community center at the school. The school board rejected that proposal, citing a community center is not a school district responsibility and possible liability from past landfill operations on the northern part of the property decades ago.
“We have just gotten ourselves 50 feet of property from the highway back, from road to road,” School Board President Todd Novakofski said.
The decision was made with little discussion by the school board, which has met with city officials numerous times over the last year to discuss possible uses and funding sources for the property.
“We are representing it in as-is condition. The city is well aware of the property itself,” School District Administrator Mike Cox said. “We aren’t indicating anything there except that they are buying it in as-is condition.”
A city-leased playground on the school grounds also is included in the sale.
The sale offer was reviewed by the school district’s attorney, according to Cox.
“It doesn’t have any major problems with it.If the board feels comfortable with the sale, it is pretty clear cut,” Cox said.
The closing date is June 1, according to Cox.
“The date that is has to be accepted by the school board is no later than May 1,” Cox said.
City officials have been in talks with Lisenby Properties of Spooner to possibly develop housing inside the school. They also have had talks with Power House and North Cedar Academy as possible partners in the project.
Board member Gerard Schueller, who was recently elected to the city council, abstained in the decision.