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Published: Thursday, 7/13/2006

1899 landmark in Perrysburg to go up for sale

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The chance to buy the Commodore Building in downtown Perrysburg will go first to community schools, then to public auction, and finally to private buyers.

Under state law, the Perrysburg board of education, which on Tuesday unanimously approved offering the building for sale, must give community or charter schools within the district 60 days to express interest in buying the building, attorney Walt Celley told the board members.

If the building does not sell at public auction, the district could consider private inquiries. The resolution does not require the building to be sold.

"There's nothing irreversible about what you're doing," Mr. Celley said.

Superintendent Mike Cline said there has been some interest in the building, but district officials had not been allowed to discuss sales with potential buyers.

Community organizations, including the Perrysburg Area Arts Council, have used the building for meeting space, and the Perrysburg Area Historical Museum has considered it as a possible location.

An appraisal of the building should be completed within three or four weeks, Mr. Celley said.

At one time, the district had considered renovating the Commodore, which houses the district's administrative offices, for use as a district-wide preschool and kindergarten. That could have cost $11.5 million, according to architectural estimates.

The Commodore Building, which was built in 1899, has been expanded and renovated several times over the years.

Longtime resident Bob Hufford tried to suppress tears as he urged the board to keep it as a school.

"I have so many memories here," he said.

Mr. Cline said the district had to weigh the use of the Commodore building as a school against the need to expand the junior high on East South Boundary Street.

That expansion, approved unanimously yesterday as part of a $28.9 million facilities plan, will add a new wing to house sixth graders.

The board needs to pass two resolutions by Aug. 24 to put a bond levy to fund the project on the November ballot. If voters approve it, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay about $140 a year in additional property tax.

The board had debated expansion plans for 18 months and considered more than a dozen options, including building a new junior high or middle school.

"This plan is definitely a compromise," board member Gretchen Downs said.

The renovation and expansion of the junior high is the largest part of the plan, at about $20.4 million. It includes the new two-story wing for sixth graders, expanded music and dining areas, a new entry, and demolition of the existing music wing, as well as building-wide upgrades.

The sixth-grade wing would have space for 20 classrooms, 10 on each floor. Board President Barry Van Hoozen said the board has not reached a definite conclusion about whether the upper floor would be used for classes or another purpose.

The district would also spend $3 million on its four elementary schools and $1.6 million on a new auxiliary gym for the high school.

Contact Elizabeth A. Shack

at eshack@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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