Grand Forks school district administrators are expected to recommend to the School Board on Monday, Sept. 13, that the West Elementary School property be sold to Oxford Realty and its partner, Premiere Homes & Builders, which submitted a proposal with a bid of $150,000 for the property.
Dakota Commercial, a commercial real estate firm, also submitted a proposal that included a purchase price of $125,000. The company proposed three options: remodeling the existing building for multifamily dwellings, demolish and build new multifamily units or demolish and replat for single-family homes.
Both businesses are based in Grand Forks.
The Oxford proposal includes a plan to replace the current site with a development of 10, single-family homes, each with at least four large bedrooms, an attached double-stall garage with alley access and extra parking, and a fully fenced backyard with patio. Each of nine lots would have 50-foot frontages; the tenth lot is on the northwest corner of the property.
The West school building would be removed before the end of this calendar year and new home construction would begin in early spring 2022, according to the Oxford proposal.
West Elementary School has been vacant since February 2020 when unacceptable levels of radon were discovered in parts of the building; its students and staff transferred to Discovery Elementary School.
West was closed for the 2020-21 school year and, in March 2021, the School Board voted to close it permanently due to the radon levels, the cost of repairing or replacing infrastructure, and the district demographer’s forecast of continuing low enrollment for the next several years.
The cost of renovation and other necessary improvements in the school’s HVAC and water drainage systems and waterproofing has been estimated at $1.85 million, according to reports from local engineering firms.
An event to celebrate the school, its history and impact on students’ lives -- and to formally mark its closure -- was held Aug. 18, with building tours, an outdoor picnic and a program.