Mandan News

Former junior high going back to bids

The former Mandan Junior High, also known as the Great Plains Academy, which the Mandan School Board voted to place up for bidding. Mandan News file photo

By Brian L. Gray

 

The Mandan School Board approved placing the former Mandan Junior High up for a 60-day bid process, after plans for the dormant building fell short of funding.

The building was previously sold in December to CommunityWorks for $1 by the Mandan School Board and Mandan City Commission. Both public entities came together on a joint ownership deal to help sell the building.

The plans were to retain the main building of the junior high that was originally built in 1924 and turn it into 16 residential units, with an additional 12 townhouses. But funding for the $5.3 million project was not received.

The board will reserve the right to reject any and all bids. If the bid process does not work out, the board will consider going through the request for proposal process for the third time. The final option is to demo the building and sell the property.

Another option for the school board was to place the former junior high on the market, but this plan was not chosen because of the uncertainty of its potential buyer.

Superintendent Wilfred Volesky said another downside with this option is that the building does not have a high value, and working with a real estate agent would require a fee.

The upside would be that the agent would be able to market the building in ways the school district is unable to. “The realtor would do the legwork, and the district is paying them to access their contacts, and basically do the work the school district is not equipped to do,” Volesky said.

“The concern here is that someone will get the building and give it back to the city after sitting on it for a while, and then it becomes the city’s problem,” said board member Tim Rector. “And that doesn’t benefit anyone, because it’s still our problem.”