YMCA buys former Wells school

ESCANABA — The Escanaba School Board accepted a bid of $150,000 from Northern Lights YMCA to purchase the former Wells Elementary School building Monday at the Committee of the Whole meeting. The YMCA bought the building, taking on a responsibility of clearing a reversion clause that was on the original title from 1926.

“The original title that Wells was under has a reversion clause,” said Escanaba Area Public Schools Superintendent Coby Fletcher. “What that reversion clause states is that if the property is no longer used as a school ownership reverts back to the original people who donated it — essentially to the district.”

The board offered bidders two options, buy the building with a quick claim deed, taking responsibility of clearing the clause, or buy the building with a marketable title.

“The second bid asked for a marketable title, which means that the district has to take it upon itself to clear the reversion clause … It’s an easy process but time consuming,” said Fletcher. “The second bid also had other contingencies that were not included in the YMCA bid. These contingencies made the YMCA bid a simple and more straight forward bid.”

The second bid was submitted by Justin Maki at $77,777.77.

The school closed in 2004 after serving students in Kindergarten through sixth grade. The school district has maintained the building at an annual cost of about $20,000.

“One of the things we talked about here is our desire to see that school building continue to be used for children,” said Secretary Kathy Jensen. “Not only is it more money coming in and actually less expense to us … it fits our goal for that space. It’s the perfect location for what they’re talking about doing, day care and wellness programs.”

In other business:

– The school board decided to hold its training in August with topics board superintendent evaluations, open meetings law and a campaign promoting Escanaba schools.

– The board received documents to review regarding shared time services with Holy Name Catholic School, Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District 2019-2020 budget resolution and an organizational plan for 2019-2020. All topics will be action items in the next regular meeting.

– Fletcher asked the board to extend the current contract with Accent Specialty Services, a custodial service from Menominee, for three years. Other board members would like to review other possibilities.

The Escanaba School Board will hold its next regular meeting Monday, May 20, at 6 p.m. in the courtyard room at the Escanaba Upper Elementary.


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