The Milford Board of Education voted at April 17’s board meeting to place Milford Main and Seipelt Elementary up for public auction, which will take place on May 19, 2014. The resolution states the two non-profit leases in Milford Main must remain in effect through June 2015; the purchaser agrees to retain the front façade of the building; and certain fixtures (Rookwood fountain & mural) will not be included in the sale. It also states that Seipelt cannot be occupied prior to January 1, 2017.
The public auction is the first step the district must take to begin sale discussions on these pieces of public property. However, the district is not bound to accept any offer, and can turn down an offer for any reason. If no bid is accepted at the auction, the district may then begin negotiating with private parties for sale. However, the district is still not obligated to sell the property for any reason.
Milford Main has been a question for the past decade. While several committees have recommended the district divest itself of the building, no action had been taken. Over the past few years, Main’s maintenance expenses have been just over or under the break even point. Now, with roof problems and a boiler that is not expected to last much longer, the Business Advisory Council recommended the district divest itself of the building to minimize exposure and ensure our limited resources are focused on educating our students.
This was also the message heard at the recent community forum on Milford Main, where the consensus was the district should not bear the sole financial responsibility for maintaining this building. Many ideas have been presented to the district, coming from a variety of places and suggesting a variety of uses, but no financially-viable options have been offered to-date.
The current Seipelt Elementary and its land will no longer be needed when the new Seipelt, to be built on the 131 land, is complete. Some interest has been shown in the building, and the board decided to place it for auction to open discussions and determine the best course of action. The district is cognizant of the neighborhood’s desire to have a “good neighbor,” and the board is committed to working to see that happen.
The board is continuing to look at all the district’s property to evaluate the best approach long-term. There has never been a “master plan” for the land; even the 131 land was not included in the master building plan. I am hopeful the district is able to evaluate and understand the value of our different properties and put together a solid strategy for moving forward.