By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays USD 489 school board heard an update on the Oak Park building project Monday night. This included questions about the ownership of the property.
The district plans to buy the Oak Park Medical Plaza on 13th Street and remodel it for use by the Early Childhood program. The district has received a $1.47 million federal grant to remodel the building.
Board member Lance Bickle said he had received multiple communications about the ownership of the property.
The complex has five owners. Four of the owners have signed off on the contract with the district. HaysMed owns the largest portion of the property.
The fifth portion of the property is under contract for sale. The person who has the contract on the property and not the present owner signed the contract with the school district.
Bickle questioned this.
“To me that would be like me putting my house on the market and having it scheduled to close next year and the person that was going to do it goes ahead and sells it when they don’t even own it yet,” Bickle said.
Board attorney Bill Jeter said there would be a simultaneous closing on the property when the time came.
The current owner would sell their unit to the party who is under contract to buy the property, and then the new owner would sell the property to the school district.
“If it doesn’t, then we have an issue with title and it’s not going to happen,” Jeter said.
The board heard a timeline for the project at the meeting. The district approved $2 million in financing for the purchase of the building on Oct. 15. The district will pay back the lease-purchase agreement $216,000 per year for 10 years.
Because the lease-purchase agreement is more than $100,000 per year, a 30-day protest period is required. That protest period will end on Nov. 25. If a protest petition is signed by 5 percent or more of the school district voters, the issue would have to go to a public vote.
The district only has until the end of June to use the federal grant funds. If a protest is successful, the project would have to be scrapped because the public vote would delay the project to the point the district would not be able to complete the renovation by the deadline for the federal grant.
If the district passes the protest period hurdle, work on the renovations would begin in January, be finished in June and classes would start at the new building in August.