The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 1:00 am

Board OKs sale of Elmhurst site

Quarry to pay $600,000; few details revealed

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

With little discussion and no debate, the Fort Wayne Community Schools board Monday unanimously approved selling the former Elmhurst High School site for $600,000.

District officials offered few details about the deal but identified the buyer as Hanson Aggregates Midwest LLC, a company that has a history of acquiring properties for its quarry.

Agenda documents described the bid as the “highest responsive offer.” District officials previously said FWCS received two offers for the site, which the school board unanimously voted in February to sell.

Superintendent Wendy Robinson said more information will be released after closing, explaining it is “always risky” to make details public before the sale is finalized.

Proceeds will go in the general fund, she said.

The board's vote happened two weeks earlier than expected, with closing anticipated for the “very near future,” said David Amen, the district's general counsel.

The lack of discussion didn't surprise board President Julie Hollingsworth given the conversations surrounding the school's closure, she said.

Elmhurst, 3829 Sandpoint Road, closed at the end of the 2009-10 academic year because of consolidation and building-site conditions. It has been vacant since.

“You knew eventually it was going to be sold, even for $1,” Hollingsworth said after the meeting.

But, she said before the vote, the board's action was bittersweet, at least for her, a former Elmhurst teacher and girls basketball coach, and board member Maria Norman, an Elmhurst alumna.

Hollingsworth, who worked at Elmhurst for 26 years, recalled her decision to transfer to Elmhurst from Northrop High School in 1980. Several colleagues questioned her move because they predicted the district would sell it.

“And 30 years later they did,” Hollingsworth said.

The buyer's intentions for the property, which includes about 12 acres of vacant farmland to the west, were not revealed Monday, and attempts to reach Hanson Aggregates Midwest were unsuccessful.

A decade ago, the Allen County Board of Zoning Appeals gave the company approval to add 10 residential properties it had bought to its limestone quarry along Sandpoint Road.

The quarry began buying 20 acres of residential property on Sandpoint Road in 2004 when it sought to expand the quarry by 121 acres.

In other news, the board approved a $266,000 three-year contract with Discovery Education to provide professional learning services and the development of an enhanced STEM curriculum for Irwin Elementary, a science and math magnet school.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Robinson stressed that parents and students won't see changes today, the district's first day of school. Fully developing the program will take three years.

“We are excited to bring this to Irwin, and we think the students and parents will appreciate the enhancements made through the partnership with Discovery Education,” Principal Ingrid Laidroo-Martin said in a statement. “The next three years will be busy as we immerse ourselves in this program, and we are ready to get started.”

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