Donora, Monongahela elementary centers will be sold
Shut down since 2011 — and once eyed as possible middle school buildings — the Donora and Monongahela elementary centers could soon be on the selling block.
The Ringgold School Board voted Wednesday to seek requests for proposals from licensed real estate brokers to “engage their services to sell” the two buildings.
The board also voted to acquire a title search of the two buildings, at a cost not to exceed $1,500.
Both motions were approved 5-3 with directors Bob and Chuck Smith and Larry Mauro voting no. Mariann Bulko, Carol Flament, Chris Carroll, Bill Stein and Maureen Ott voted yes.
The motions were approved after an unsuccessful move by Chuck Smith and Mauro to table the motion. The motion to table was rejected by the same 5-3 vote.
Carroll said DEC has been assessed at $300,000 and MEC at $230,000.
Ott said sustaining the two buildings is costly for the district.
“It's the fiscally responsible thing to do to divest ourselves of those buildings,” Ott said.
Mauro said the district could be many years from building a new middle school.
Ringgold Middle School — formerly Finleyville Middle School — had been shifting as a result of a now-dormant pyrite below the surface of the building. Architects have told the board the building is currently safe for occupancy.
The state currently is not accepting applications under its Planning and Construction Workbook. Known as PlanCon, this state program is a set of forms and procedures used to apply for state reimbursement of costs for new building construction.
The board is awaiting state funding under PlanCon before moving ahead with plans to construct a new middle school.
At one point, the board had plans to renovate and reopen DEC and MEC as middle school buildings. But changes in the board's majority led to the shift in plans for future housing of middle school students.
Mauro expressed concerns over selling the two buildings if they are needed in the future.
“Obviously, the buildings are worth something,” Chuck Smith said.
Ott said the district could use eminent domain to acquire a building if needed.
“These are assets in our community,” Bob Smith said. “Once that asset is gone, it's gone.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.