The former West School administration building may soon be on the market.
The Blair Community Schools (BCS) Board of Education voted 7-1 Monday to have the administration explore the possible options for the sale of the building located at 2232 Washington St.
Board member Lyle Schjodt voted no. Board member Brittany Gunderson was absent.
West School had been used for the district administrative offices since 2014. However, as part of the recent expenditure reduction plan, the offices were moved to Deerfield Primary School. The board held its first meeting in the Deerfield library Monday night.
The West School building is approximately 21,554 square feet. The district offices only need 5,000 square feet for five offices and two conference rooms, Supt. Randy Gilson said.
“By operating the admin building at Deerfield, BCS is able to reduce one administrator, one custodian and one office secretary position,” Gilson said. “This will save the district $260,000 annually.”
Gilson also cited declining enrollment as a reason to sell the building.
In 2008, BCS enrollment was 2,384 with an average class size of 183. The district is expecting an enrollment of 2,190 with an average class size of 168 for the 2019-20 school year. The loss of 190 students over the past 10 years has left extra space available at Deerfield and North, Gilson said.
But what about potential growth?
“According to City Administrator Rod Storm, last year there were 37 new houses built in Blair. There have been an average of 25 new houses built during the past five years,” Gilson said. “Using the analogy, cohort survival ratio, and geo-referenced data methods to project future enrollment, it is predicted that Blair could increase enrollment by 10-15 students per year.”
With that projected growth, Gilson said it is predicted that BCS would not outgrow its existing classroom space at Deerfield, North, South and Arbor schools during the next 10 years.
“Over 10 years, BCS would save $2.6 million by housing its district administrative offices at Deerfield,” he said.