Later, the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School Board decided it was best to lease the building to the group and earn a profit, said JWP Supt. Bill Adams. But Adams said he read of an pending plan by Gov. Mark Dayton to put a cap on lease aid to public schools, which would potentially mean the district would remain the owner without gaining anything, he said.
“It didn’t make sense to maintain ownership,” Adams said.
In the meantime, a businessman named George Duncan of Gold Nugget Properties in Missouri offered to purchase the building for $10,000, and Adams said he accepted. The School Board will officially vote on the sale this month, he said.
Adams said Duncan has purchased school buildings across the country and leases them to businesses and schools. News articles from across the country corroborate this statement, but Duncan said he doesn’t feel comfortable commenting until after the sale closes.
Little referred all questions about the Waldorf building to Adams, although she said the Waldorf school building is still part of the board’s plan.
Doug Thomas of EdVisions, who helped write Technical Academies’ state application, said who owns the building won’t matter.
“The charter will lease the facility no matter who owns it,” he said.
Adams said Waldorf Technical Academy will receive lease aid from the state. Little said she’s still in the early stages of investigating the process, so that funding hasn’t been determined.
Adams said due to the lack of airflow as the building has sat vacant, mold needs to be cleaned inside the school. The sprinkler system also needs attention. He guessed Duncan will have about $80,000 in costs associated with cleanup and functional upgrades.
“(Overall) that building’s pretty solid,” he said.
The Waldorf charter school will aim to serve Mankato, Owatonna, Waseca, Albert Lea, Faribault, Blue Earth, Wells, Janesville and surrounding areas.