November 17, 2016
The Greene County Community School District is considering the purchase of the former armory property near the Jefferson airport to be used for bus storage and maintenance.
Because the county currently owns the property, the Greene County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing at 9:15 a.m. Monday at the courthouse before voting to approve the sale to the school for a reported $250,000.
Supervisor Guy Richardson says that sales figure isn’t set in stone.
“That’s ($250,000) what’s been talked about, but it could always change until the deal is final,” he said.
Greene County Superintendent Tim Christensen made it clear that none of the funds used for a potential property purchase would come from the general fund that pays teachers and keeps classes running.
“The $250,000 would come out of a combination of PPEL and sales-tax funds that are available,” Christensen said. “In no way will any general funds be used (if the purchase is made).”
The district voted last week to shut down the intermediate building in Grand Junction in order to save $333,000 in the general fund — which is used to directly educate students.
The district is currently renting a utility building at the Greene County Fairgrounds at a cost of $17,500 for the year. The district also owns a storage facility in Grand Junction.
The 9,000-square-foot former Iowa National Guard armory — which has a 5,200-square-foot gymnasium — was constructed in 1966.
An adjacent, 7,600-square-foot metal warehouse was built in 1989.
According to county records, the total value of the property is $80,800.
The property was gifted to the City of Jefferson by the state of Iowa in November 2005.
The city then gave the property to the Greene County Development Corp. at no cost in March 2006.
In April 2010, GCDC contracted with Greene County to sell the property for $150,000.
The county fulfilled the contract and took control of the deed on Nov. 22, 2010.
Christensen said if the district continues to rent at the fairgrounds, the fair board may build another building.
“The lease figure that was discussed was $21,000,” Christensen wrote in an email.
Connor Juergensen, vice president of the Greene County Fair Board, said he understands if the district makes a move to save money in the long run.
“If the school doesn’t renew the lease we can definitely find other options for it,” Juergensen said. “We can rent it to one party, or several different parties throughout the year.”
Juergensen added that if the district wants to stay at the fairgrounds for the long term, they’d like to tailor the new building to its needs.
“We don’t want them to go, and we’re not kicking them out by any means,” Juergensen said. “We don’t have any hard feelings either way. We understand they need to make the best business decision.”
Christensen said the district was forced to spend money and manpower on moving everything inside the fairgrounds building out and back in every summer because of the county fair.
Richardson says he’s in favor of selling the building if that’s what everyone wants and the county engineer signs off on it.
“I think it will be better for us to get the equipment we do have there, out,” Richardson said. “It’d be nice to have some more of our equipment closer to the rest of the county’s stuff.”
If the supervisors approve the sale Monday, the matter will then be taken before the Greene County School Board at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the administration building.