Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Disctrict 11 opens bidding on vacant elementary school in Colorado Springs

By Debbie Kelley Published: March 3, 2014

A variety of entities are interested in the former Bates Elementary School, and they all have a chance to try to buy it.

Colorado Springs School District 11 on Friday opened a competitive bidding process for the building and land at 702 Cragmor Road in the Cragmor subdivision near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

"We've had a lot of interest, from charter schools to developers wanting to repurpose the property to private individuals," said Kris Odom, D-11's executive director for procurement and contracting.

The closing date for offers is 2 p.m. March 31.

The fair market value is $30 per square foot, or $1.1 million, and cash offers will receive the highest consideration, according to the request for offer.

But many factors are taken into account, Odom said. District officials and the school board, which makes the final decision on real estate transactions, consider what the potential buyer intends to do with the building, she said.

"We look for something that will be a good fit for the community, the district and the buyer," Odom said. "It's not going to go to the highest bidder, necessarily."

The school opened in 1957 and closed in May 2013 as part of a district downsizing plan. It is the last remaining vacant building of the 12 schools that the district has closed since 2008. Some, such as Ivywild, have been sold and renovated for new uses. Others have district educational programs, and some are being leased.

The district had entertained other offers on Bates, Odom said, but they didn't result in a contract.

The building has asbestos in floor tile, chalk boards, Sheetrock taping compound and sink linings throughout, according to the bidding materials.

The board will consider approval of a contract May 14.

Odom said the process may result in a contract - or may not, which is what happened with three other properties that went through a request for offers process: Bijou, Irving and Ivywild schools.

"We got offers but we never closed any of the deals," she said. "The sale of Ivywild resulted from a cold call."

On the other hand, the old Jefferson school was sold during an RFO solicitation, while the most recent deal, Lincoln Elementary, drew offers in line with the market value that were accepted without a competitive bidding method.

Tours of the Bates property will be 10 a.m.-noon March 17, 1-3 p.m. March 18, 4-6 p.m. March 19 and 9-11 a.m. March 20. Reservations are required; call Odom at 520-2462.

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