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Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Offer made for former Minster school; investors plan assisted living facility

By Tom Millhouse

Minster Board of Education members are considering an offer from local investors. . .

MINSTER - A vacant school building with a long history in Minster may soon get a new lease on life.
Commercial and Industrial Leasing Ltd., a group of local investors headed up by Minster businessman Jack Buschur, is interested in buying the former Hanover Street school for $300,000 and converting it into an assisted living center for senior citizens.
Board of education members heard terms of the agreement Monday night.
Contacted today, Buschur said his group plans to renovate the interior of the building and develop 35 to 40 units. The facility would be contracted out "to a company that has a good track record for running such facilities," he said.
"We did some preliminary work and it looks like it came together very well," Buschur said. "It's a tremendous location and it would put the building to good use. It has been extremely well maintained."
Although the project is still in the planning stages, Buschur said if the project moves forward work would be "up and running in 2014." He said the gymnasium would be available for community use.
More details of the group's plans will be released at Monday's regular meeting, if the board approves the offer. The deadline for the agreement to be completed is March 31.
After receiving no bids on the property during an auction in July, superintendent Brenda Boeke and board members were elated at the prospect of selling the building.
  "It's very exciting," Boeke said, noting it is especially good news that the building will be purchased by local investors.
"The building will be put to a good use and for the betterment of the community," she said.
If the agreement clears all legal hurdles, which include an environmental study and review by the board's legal counsel, the district has a pressing need for the additional funds from the sale, according to Boeke.
"It will be used to put a new roof on the high school," Boeke said. "It's (new roof) needed but it's a high ticket item."
"We're thrilled," board president Kurt Forsthoefel said. With the sale of an older building, "you never know" how long it might take to find a buyer, he said.
In addition to the funds from the proposed sale, the district also would receive real estate taxes from the property in the future. District treasurer Laura Klosterman said it has been estimated the taxes would be $3,900 per year.
The proposal was brought to school officials last week, Boeke said, adding that there has not been any other interest in the building.
The building was completed in 1931 following board approval of the $88,000 project. Originally constructed as a high school, it later also housed junior high and elementary schools.
It was expanded from the original 22 classrooms to 30 in 1951. Other changes over the years included the installation of an elevator and handicap-accessible restrooms in 1995 to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and moving the office to the ground floor in 2003.
The building has been closed since the start of the 2011-12 school year following the move of the elementary school to the new middle school on Fourth Street.
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