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GSL Board votes to close Helen Baker School in ’17

After hosting a public hearing on Monday night, the Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL) School Board resolved to close the Helen Baker Elementary School building during its regular meeting that night.
The hearing was  held at 6 p.m. and was part of a legal process required to close a schoolhouse. One member of the public was in attendance.
Superintendent Chris Sonju explained that if the resolution passed, the activities in Helen Baker will be moved to Lincoln Junior High. This switch is part of the upcoming construction plan and would occur during summer 2017.
After the closure is approved by the board, Sonju said the building would be put up for sale, and could go on the market as soon as the next day. If the district does not receive any interest after a time, the issue will be brought back to the board and demolition will be considered.
Board Member Kevin Kuester said it is important to sell quickly as people don’t want to see a boarded-up building in the community.
Resident Rich Glennie asked if the district had contingency funds to maintain the building while it searches for a buyer.
Sonju explained that the school will still be in use for two years, during which the district will, of course, keep up maintenance. He said this two-year span could be used to look for interest and, if none is found at the end of that time, the board can look at demolition. Board Member Clark Christianson agreed that a date should be set to determine interest and move on if none is found.
The value of the school will be determined through a quote process.

For more, see the Sept. 16 print edition of The Chronicle.