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School Board votes to sell Washington for $400,000

The Willmar School Board voted Monday to sell the Washington Learning Center to a Spicer business for $400,000. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has approved the sale of the Washington Learning Center Monday.

The board voted Monday to accept an offer of $400,000 from Royal Investments Group of Spicer. The vote on the resolution to sell the building passed 5-to-0, with board member Dion Warne abstaining.

The Washington building is closing this summer as part of a school district restructuring. The board adopted the restructuring plan last spring as part of a budget-cutting effort.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to offset about one-third of the cost of a seven-room kindergarten addition under construction at Roosevelt Elementary.

"I think it's a fair price," said Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard. "I'm glad it worked out."

The Willmar Community Education and Recreation Department has been moving from Washington to the Jefferson Learning Center on Kandiyohi Avenue in southwest Willmar. Washington is located on Willmar Avenue just west of the intersection with South First Street.

In the restructuring, the district moved all elementary students into two buildings, Roosevelt and Kennedy. However, in order to have room for everyone, a kindergarten addition was planned at Roosevelt.

The district was able to use capital outlay funding to pay for the addition and did not issue bonds for the project. The money from the sale of Washington will allow the district to replenish some of the capital funding that could be used for maintenance projects that had been delayed.

The city has a skateboard park on the land behind the Washington building. Kjergaard said it would have to be moved by the Sept. 30 closing date.

Several years ago, Affiliated Community Medical Centers had expressed interest in the building, too. ACMC is located just east of Washington.

In other business, the board discussed ways to get sixth-graders at the Middle School involved in extra-curricular activities. The school will have grades 6-8 in it this coming year as a result of the district's restructuring.

Middle School Principal Mark Miley presented a report that proposed allowing sixth-graders to participate in some sports, like cross country, track and tennis.

Sixth-graders would have to get sports physicals to participate in sports, Miley said. They would only be allowed at practices involving middle school students, and would not be able to participate in any varsity or junior varsity activities.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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