Future of school’s bus garage undecided

GLADSTONE – The future of the former Gladstone bus garage is still undecided following Monday night’s regular school board meeting.

The district has been attempting to part with the bus garage since last year, when the building was put out for bid. Two bids were received for the garage, a monetary bid from a private citizen and a $1 bid from the city. Both bids were rejected in January.

“(The city bid $1) in large part because of things that they’ve done for us or given us in the past,” Superintendent Jay Kulbertis told the Daily Press following the Jan. 20 meeting, adding it may be beneficial for the district to explore other options with the city that provided both parties with a win-win outcome.

Rather than place the building up for open bid again, the district began exploring a property trade agreement with the city. In exchange for the bus garage, the district would receive the current Gladstone Parks and Recreation Department building adjacent to Jones Elementary School.

Board members toured the facility last week and brought their concerns to the meeting Monday night.

“It looked to me like it needed a good amount of work. It needs a roof. I think … that a lot of electrical work needs to be done before it’d be capable of supporting educational activities in there,” said Board Trustee Paul Capodilupo.

The board has not made any definitive choices about how the recreation building – or any building acquired or used by the district – would be used. However, the board is currently looking for a space for alternative education programs.

“I would stipulate that we certainly aren’t approving what it would be used for, but even if we choose a different purpose for the rec building I think that is a better option for us than the old bus garage,” said Superintendent Jay Kulbertis.

For some board members the issue was more about the deal itself.

“I guess the bigger question is do we feel that this is the best deal that we, as the district, are going to make with regards to the former bus garage?” asked Board Vice President Linda Howlett, who noted she originally believed that getting out from under the old bus garage without acquiring new property so the district had fewer buildings to maintain was in the best interest of the district.

The idea was raised to use a portion of the new bus garage for alternative education and forgo acquiring the recreation building property. The new bus garage currently has electricity and study cubicles, but would require changes to the plumbing. Concerns were also raised about the property’s zoning and the building’s firewall.

The board voted unanimously against the property trade agreement with the city. Following the vote the board voted to revisit the issue at a special meeting to be held on Wed., June 25, at 6 p.m. at the city library, after more information can be gathered on the cost of renovating the new bus garage and the recreation building. The board will also hold a budget hearing at the meeting.

“We did have what I thought was a fairly reasonable bid during the first open bid process from a private individual so I think the consideration to sell it outright, I’m still open to that option,” said Capodilupo. “I don’t think as a district we need to inherit a building that requires a significant amount of renovation for a purpose that we’re not sure we’re going to use it for and then be strapped with the cost of maintenance of a building when the general direction of the district has been to go the other way.”