Cooke Elementary Back on Market

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

The Galesburg School Board continues to search for potential buyers for a local elementary school.

During Monday night’s meeting, District 205 agreed to lower the minimum bid price for Cooke Elementary after the most recent process failed to garner results.

Cooke was originally priced with a minimum bid of $350,000, but the district will now be asking for a $280,000 minimum bid.

Superintendent Bart Arthur says he hopes a competitive process can earn the district more than that.

“If we have two bidders or more, we will let them have an opportunity to raise the bid based on their original bids,” says Arthur.

Cooke Elementary was approved for sale earlier this year, much to the behest of several parents and community advocates.

The district’s administration has maintained the school was recommended for closure primarily for financial reasons, but also due to the school’s student population being in violation of the state’s 70/30 special education rule.

During the previous round of bidding – which saw the results revealed earlier this month – West Central Community Services Head Start and the Galesburg Rescue Mission were the only two bidders.

Arthur tells WGIL one of them requested to raise their price after the bidding process had been completed.

“They offered, but I wouldn’t accept the price, I said: don’t even give me the price because by-sale of a public building, we couldn’t do that anyway,” says Arthur. “So this way they have a chance to adjust their bid and maybe it will be one that will be competitive.”

The district hopes the lowered price is able to attract more interest from firms looking to utilize the space. Sources say there has already been additional interest in the building.

Administration has spent time in the recent past offering tours of Cooke Elementary which is said to include a review of the mechanics, getting up on the roof, and a general overview of the space.

The school board, last night, went into closed door session to discuss the new sales price for the school. After returning to open session, board members unanimously agreed to the new price.

Arthur tells WGIL the district wants to be fair to the taxpayers’ interest.

“By setting the bid at $280[thousand], you know, we may end up getting somebody to bid above that, and that’s what we’re hoping,” says Arthur.

Those bids are expected to come back for consideration on July 17th where a meeting will be held to review the bids and potentially agree to the sales price.

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