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Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Spiritual Center buys old school

By Tom Stankard
MONTEZUMA - The Spiritual Center of Maria Stein on Wednesday made the highest bid of $185,000 for the Franklin Elementary School building.
Auctioneer Tom Robbins asked for a starting bid of $100,000. However, the first bid made among the three or four interested parties was $30,000, said Robbins, who called the auction a success.
Spiritual Center coordinator Robin Goettemoeller said organization officials would like to use the building as an "annex for the retreat and to host youth events." She described the auction as nerve racking but fun.
Celina City Schools Superintendent Ken Schmiesing, who attended the auction, said he was pleased with the turnout and the final bid. The district owns the school.
"I was hoping for a benchmark of $100,000," he said.
The bid will be presented to the school board, whose members will vote on whether or not to accept the offer. The board's next regular meeting is 6 p.m. July 17 at the Education Complex, but Schmiesing said members may schedule a special meeting on July 6 to consider the bid.
District treasurer Tom Sommer told the newspaper he will recommend the board accept the bid and deposit the money into the school's permanent improvement account. The account is used for "capital items and major improvements or repairs to buildings."
At a previous board meeting, Schmiesing said the Franklin building needs a new well and its heating system is "in dire need" of being replaced. The cost for a new well could range from $30,000-$70,000, and replacing the heating system could cost about $1.2 million, he noted.
According to Schmiesing, the building and the 5 acres of land on which it's located have been assessed at about $1 million.
The Franklin building had housed the Head Start Program since 2010. Earlier in March, board members agreed to move the program to the Education Complex by the end of May. The federally funded preschool has about 130 students from Celina, Coldwater, Fort Recovery, Marion Local, Parkway and St. Henry school districts, as well as the Mercer County Educational Service Center.
School officials had planned to move the program to the Education Complex by 2019, when Tri Star Career Compact's new complex is expected to open. Tri Star offices and classrooms would then be moved to that location, clearing space in the Education Complex.
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