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District 11 has an idea for three vacant schools

June 6, 2010

Colorado Springs School District 11 has come up with plans for three vacant schools, including the proposed sale of Ivywild Elementary School to two well-known businessmen.

District officials are recommending the sale of Ivywild for $1.2 million to $1.4 million, depending on appraisals, to Joseph Coleman and Mike Bristol. Coleman owns the Blue Star, Nosh and La’uas Taco Shop, and Bristol owns Bristol Brewing.

Officials also are recommending that Jefferson Elementary School be leased to the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony for one year while it develops a long-term proposal to create a fine arts consortium in the building, and that the western portion of Adams Elementary School be provided for the upper grades of the Space, Technology and Arts Academy (STAR) charter school.

If the board approves the plans, it would mean the district has found uses for all of the eight buildings vacated a year ago in a massive consolidation in the district.

The district sought buyers for Ivywild and two other properties last year, but had no offers for Ivywild, a stately school built in 1917 at 1604 S. Cascade Ave. The asking price then was $1.4 million, but documents attached to the board agenda indicate that the appraisal for the 27,000-square-foot building might come in a bit lower due to economic conditions.

The contracting department said the buyers have agreed to the range, and it is seeking “flexibility to negotiate the price” once the appraisal is final.

Any sale would be contingent on buyer financing and rezoning, but D-11 would expect to close on the property no later than May 2011, the agenda documents say.

Details of plans for the building have not been made public, but sources it would be a great project that would benefit the community.

The proposed agreement with the Youth Symphony came out of continuing talks with the group and the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale about using excess D-11 facilities. The symphony moved into Pike Elementary School after it was closed last summer, but needed a new home because that school will house the new Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning charter school.

Jefferson, 1801 N. Howard Ave., was used this year for adult education and the district’s online and home-school programs, but those will be consolidated at the former Irving Middle School this fall, along with the Digital School.

The third contract proposal on the table Wednesday would be an agreement with STAR charter school to use just over half of Adams, which has been vacant since it was closed a year ago. STAR previously had indicated interest in using the building at 2101 Manitoba Drive.

The district had hoped to use the building for a preschool center for children from birth to 5 years of age, but that idea proved too costly to launch in the near term.

Under the agreement, STAR would use the wing for students in fourth through eighth grades this year, but eventually it would be used only for STAR’s middle school grades.

The charter school would pay utilities and for other services provided by the district.
Also on the agenda for Wednesday is a public hearing, beginning at 7 p.m., on the district proposed 2010-11 budget.

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