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Jefferson School sale might be child's play

Jefferson School. File photo

The Red Wing School Board will continue its discussion about the possible sale of the Jefferson School building during the regular meeting Dec. 17. There are now three interested parties.

The board discussed the sale Dec. 3 but took no action. The Stencil Group, a company based out of Sioux Falls, S.D., had met with the district and toured the building on multiple occasions going back as far as this summer.

The Stencil Group proposed purchasing the block and creating a three-story senior living facility. The group also wanted to put another building on the property, using the school as a possible day care and activities space.

PREVIOUSLY: Senior living proposed for Jefferson School block

During the Dec. 3 meeting, board members had mixed reactions with some hoping to move forward with the sale and some putting the brakes on that project. One issue is potential district need for the school. Another is community green space and the Old Fairgrounds neighborhood's only playgroun.

Since the community learned about the potential sale in the Republican Eagle article "Senior living proposed for Jefferson School block" published Dec. 5, the district has been contacted by two other interested parties.

Keller-Baartman has made an offer equal to that of the Stencil Group: $250,000. Keller-Baartman, according to the Dec. 17 board packet information, "plans to use the building for child care and preschool, including child care before school, after school, non-students days, and summers."

The Operations Committee met on Dec. 10 to discuss the Keller-Baartman offer and has forwarded the purchase agreement to the full board for consideration 5:30 p.m. Monday in Red Wing City Hall council chambers.

Since publication of the School Board article titled, "Senior living proposed for Jefferson School block" on Dec. 5 in the Republican Eagle, the district has been contacted by two other interested parties.

One, Keller-Baartman, has made an offer of the same amount as the Stencil Group: $250,000. Keller-Baartman, according to the Dec. 17 board packet information, "plans to use the building for child care and preschool, including child care before school, after school, non-students days, and summers."

The Operations Committee met on Dec. 10 to discuss the Keller-Baartman offer and have moved forward a purchase agreement to the full board on Monday to be considered.

The second interested party was not been identified. According to the board packet, the district is looking into a way to end negotiations with the Stencil Group.

Actual use of the property will fall under the city's jurisdiction. Both a child care center and a senior complex would neighborhood notification, public hearings and a conditional-use permit.

Jefferson School was built at 601 Buchanan St. in 1917 and closed as an elementary school in 2003. Goodhue County Education District used the building several years before the River Bluff Education Center opened in 2015. Red Wing Public Schools used Jefferson for office space for several months in 2017 and 2018 during construction projects at other buildings.

Annual maintenance of the site location is $50,000-$75,000 a year. The building was not officially for sale at any time.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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