The brochure reads “own a piece of history or make your own.”
Dating back to 1929, the history it refers to is the former Shady Grove School west of Great Bend. The price — $86,000.
The Unified School District 428 School Board Monday night set the cost for the building and the two acres of ground on which it stands. The package includes the original school house and an attached gym built in 1972.
“Expand your business,” the flyer continues. “Start your own school. Open a bed and breakfast, hunting lodge of homeless shelter. Convert to a spacious family home, complete with a full-size gymnasium.”
“We’ve had some people calling wanting to make an offer,” district Business Director Dan Brungardt told board members meeting at the District Education Center. However, the appraisal just came in, prompting the need to decide on a price.
The goal is to sell the school on the open market. If that doesn’t work, the board will consider other offers or opt to sell it at auction.
“The board has to approve any sale,” Brungardt said. “You are the only ones who can sell that property.”
However, as a stipulation, anyone making an offer lower than the asking price must have a pre-qualified letter of credit and put down a $1,000 in non-refundable earnest money, or have cash in hand.
Located at 150 SW 40th Ave., across from the Great Bend Municipal Airport, the structure covers nearly 5,000 square feet with a kitchen and two half bathrooms. The gym has been divided into offices and meeting rooms.
It is all be sold “as is.”
Shady Grove ceased being an actual school in 1991. Up until this fall, it housed Barton County Special Services, a county-wide cooperative serving children with special needs.
The cooperative moved to Washington Early Childhood Center in Great Bend, leaving no use for the old, well-kept school.
According to information from USD 428, Shady Grove School was organized on April 2, 1873. It was one of a host of country schools that dotted section corners across the state for over a century.
This was later replaced by a second building. This was moved into town for use as a church and, later on, an apartment building. The current building went up in the summer of 1929.
In other action, the USD 428 School Board:
• Learned district enrollment is, so far, up from last year. As of Sept. 1, the unaudited total was 3,046. The audited Sept. 20 number for 2010 was 3,024.
• Honored Curtis Wolf, Eric Giesing and Pam Martin of the Wetlands Education Center with the Recognizing Outstanding Support of Education (ROSE) Award. They were honored for their partnership with the district and helping to sponsor Wetlands Education Day for county second graders.
• Reviewed a revision of the proposed policy on electronic communications with students, which covers e-mailing, texting and the use of Facebook. The goal of the policy is to act as a warning and to teach staff and students about what is appropriate communication and what isn’t, and the possible consequences for doing something inappropriate. This was the second reading and a third revision will be discussed at a later meeting.
• Discussed on-going school improvement projects, including roofing and carpeting in various school buildings, and heating and air conditioning at the District Education Center.
• Learned the district might be able to refinance its 2002 bonds next spring. If interest rates stay low, this could save the district $40,000 per year.
• Accepted several donations: $600 from the Great Bend Elks Lodge 1127 for elementary art supplies; a set of 24 CDs entitled “Ancient Civilizations” from Dr. Patrick Stang, valued at $150; a $500 TGIF grant from Credit Union of America, applied for by Gary Pinkall and Mike Perry; and $2,500 for high school athletics and activities from Mark and Krista Ball.
• Discussed drop-out rates. In 2010, 25 students left Great Bend High School, but some of them went to Barton County Academy. Others were expelled, left to take the GED or just quit. For this reason, administrators said it is difficult to track the actual rate. It was noted that at-risk students receive a lot of attention and help to stay in school.
• Talked about ways to increase ACT test scores. District administrators had two ACT-related goals — increase the number of students taking the college-prep test and increase the test scores. However, so far they’ve only increased the number.
Teachers will work on preparing for the ACT in classrooms and students will be advised on the importance of taking it and earning higher scores, which can lead to scholarships.