ECASD weighs purchase options for Epiphany Lutheran Church - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

ECASD weighs purchase options for Epiphany Lutheran Church

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The Eau Claire School Board wants to buy a church to address space needs.  It would prefer to avoid a referendum to get that done.

On Monday night, the board discussed three options to pay for Epiphany Lutheran Church.  The board could borrow, buy it outright or hold another referendum. 

Last year, voters rejected a referendum to buy the building.  Epiphany would be used to house the 4K program, along with Head Start and early childhood special education. The church has dropped its asking price from around $4 million to less than $3 million. 

Eau Claire Area School Board President, Dr. Carol Craig, says, "I have not had the opposition saying, don't violate what the referendum said. Instead it's apples and oranges right now, it's not the same question that you had in April of 2011."

"From a cost per square foot basis, it just makes sense to take advantage of an opportunity that exists now and wind up with a lower cost than if you waited and had to build new," says Dan Van De Water, the Eau Claire Area School District Executive Director of Business.

No official decision was made Monday, but overall, the board favored borrowing the money or buying the building outright, over going back to referendum.  Board members said the space crunch isn't going away and they want to find a long term solution as soon as possible. They requested to see a resolution wording for both of those options and more specifics.

If the board votes to borrow the money, the public would have the right to petition to go to referendum.

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