Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mars Area Reaps 'Windfall' from Sale of Old School

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mars Area Reaps 'Windfall' from Sale of Old School

Article excerpt

The Mars Area School District received a "windfall" when two bidders kept raising the stakes for the purchase of the former Middlesex Elementary School.

During a hearing last Friday in Butler County Common Pleas Court, Claddagh Properties of Butler saw its original bid of $400,000 for the former school topped by Concordia Lutheran Services.

Concordia will purchase the building for $800,000, double the original bid.

"We actually had a little bit of a bidding war," school board president J. Dayle Ferguson said.

"After settling some remaining debt on the building, there will be a very nice windfall to our capital fund for future improvements," she said.

Under state law, sale of public property has to be approved by the court, and other bidders can show up for the hearing and submit their own bids.

That is what happened last Friday, Mrs. Ferguson said.

Because bond funds were used on the building in the past, state law requires that the proceeds from the sale be used for capital projects.

Mars Area closed Middlesex Elementary in 2004, consolidating all students in the schools along Route 228 in Adams. Some administrative offices remained there until last year when the administration building was expanded.

Concordia has not said what it plans to do with the property. The first time the school was offered for sale, Arias Properties bid $450,000 but withdrew its bid before court approval.

Also on Tuesday, the school board approved posting a revised policy on graduation requirements that would mean current eighth-graders may have to earn more credits to graduate from high school.

The new requirements raise the number of credits from 23.2 to 25.

"It will be a gradual increase over four years" with next year's freshmen the first class to need 25 credits, said Lindsay Rosswog, high school principal.

The policy must be posted on the district's website for at least 30 days before the board acts on it. Posting the policy was approved 8-1, with William Pettigrew opposed. …

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