Reading and writing and real estate

Reading and writing and real estate

RIDGE FARM — Folks still have a few days to put together an offer on the old Ridge Farm Elementary School building and grounds.

Georgetown-Ridge Farm schools officials will open sealed bids for the property at 305 S. State St. at 6 p.m. Monday, the submission deadline.

So far, they haven't received any.

"We're really interested in finding a buyer," Superintendent Jean Neal said late Thursday afternoon, adding the school's closing last spring was tough on residents of this small southern Vermilion County town. "We're hoping that someone will come in and contribute to the community."

The property consists of a 13-acre site with a 35,300-square-foot building, a storage shed, a tennis court and parking. Six acres are tillable.

The main building features a gymnasium, cafeteria, a large kitchen with walk-in coolers and other appliances, 13 classrooms, three offices and public and private restrooms.

"It's relatively new," Neal said, pointing out that construction of the building — not including the existing gym — started in 1987. The school opened in the 1989-90 school year and most recently housed the district's fourth- and fifth-graders until it closed last spring.

District officials closed the school and cut positions in an effort to slash $200,000 to $300,000 from its budget and help erase a $1 million deficit. The students were moved to Pinecrest Elementary School in Georgetown.

"Some of the positions were restored this year," Neal said.

The district was required to try to sell the building through the sealed-bid process, and officials started advertising they were accepting bids in late October. The board set a minimum bid at $150,000.

Neal said she isn't sure what to think about not receiving any bids yet, since she hasn't been through this process before. If the district doesn't receive any, she said, the board could decide to work with a commercial real estate agent to sell the property.

She said the board could also decide whether to accept a lower offer.

She thinks the building has a lot of potential use.

But "I think it's really determined by the area and the businesses in the area," she said of the interest. "I know other districts have sold buildings that have been used for a variety of purposes — businesses, assisted-living facilities for seniors, a place to put a flea market."

Anyone who is interested may call the district office at 662-8488.

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