School board rejects for former Central Elementary

Sylvania president calls offer ‘unacceptable’

7/19/2013
BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Central Elementary School's auction commences on the school property. The sale attracted about 45 people, including Sylvania Public Schools employees.
Central Elementary School's auction commences on the school property. The sale attracted about 45 people, including Sylvania Public Schools employees.

The former Central Elementary School doesn’t have a new owner, yet.

After an hour of closed-door deliberations Thursday night, the Sylvania Board of Education voted 5-0 to reject a $1.25 million bid for two parcels totaling about 13 acres at 3124 and 3364 King Rd. in Sylvania Township.

School board president Vicki Donovan-Lyle said the board rejected the bid because it was “unacceptable” and did not meet the board’s reserve, which she declined to divulge.

School officials need to ensure, she said, that the district gets an “equitable” amount for the property. It became surplus in December after students were moved to the new Central Trail Elementary School on Mitchaw Road.

The cafeteria inside the shuttered Central Elementary School.
The cafeteria inside the shuttered Central Elementary School.

PHOTO GALLERY: Central Elementary School auction

The auction drew about 40 people out to a wing of the former school to see a map of the property, which was offered as-is except for its playground equipment, which has been transferred to Stranahan Elementary School or sold to the Olander Park System. Furnishings are to be sold through GovernmentDeals.com, district spokesman Nancy Crandell said.

Sylvania residents Ruth Noonan, 80, and Elaine Bonkowksi, 81, attended the auction with no plans to buy anything, but rather to learn the fate of a school that was dear to their hearts.

“I had to come because all three of my kids went here,” Ms. Bonkowski said.

Ms. Noonan said she attended sixth grade at Central, and her grandchildren also went to the school.

“I’m just interested in what happens to my school,” she said.

The women were joined in the audience mainly by real-estate professionals and less than a dozen actual bidders at the sale managed by Amlin Auction of Maumee.

Sylvania Township Trustee Neal Mahoney and former Central Elementary principal Toni Gerber also attended.

The shuttered Central Elementary School auction began Thursday.
The shuttered Central Elementary School auction began Thursday.

Auctioneer Jack Amlin said about seven people were bidding online while the live auction proceeded. A bid of $850,000 prompted the school board to retreat into executive session for the first time.

After convening with the board, Mr. Amlin announced that while the school board was “very motivated to be done with this property today,” $850,000 was too low.

After several more online bids and an in-person offer of $1.15 million, the board again entered closed-door discussion.

About 30 minutes later, Mr. Amlin emerged to say that the board was entertaining the $1.25 million offer, but within a few minutes he reported that bid’s rejection.

“The board is not going to negotiate at this point,” he said, adding that it might pursue a listing aiming for a private sale instead.

School board members would not speculate as to when that process might start.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: kmclendon@theblade.com, 419-724-6522, or on Twitter @KMcBlade.