Parent group wants to buy Bloomer school slated for demolition - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Parent group wants to buy Bloomer school slated for demolition

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Bloomer (WQOW) - There's a lot of excitement for a new school in Bloomer, but the buzz at a meeting Monday night was about the old building.  A group of parents wants to turn the old elementary school into a community center.

Last year, voters approved a referendum to build a new elementary school.  There's a group that wants to form a non-profit to re-tool the old building, but there are several issues.  At the top of the list:  the building is already set to be demolished in the fall.

"We would like to turn it into a community center," says Bloomer parent Mandi Marik.

A group of Bloomer parents wants to give new life to an old building. They're hoping to purchase the former Bloomer Elementary School to create a "Blackhawk Activity Center".

"We have a daughter that's in fourth grade, a son that's in kindergarten, and it is hard to find gym time," Marik says.

The group would tear down a portion of the building, and keep the gym and several classrooms.

"I see the plans, and I'm very much for the idea, I like the idea," said one Facilities Committee member Monday night.

Monday night, they made an offer to the school district's facilities committee to buy the property for $5. But the committee says there are several issues with the offer.

"My concern is what's left behind, because that's what we are tasked to do, what's best for the school district, what's best for the community and everyone else," one member said.

One of the biggest concerns is cost to the school district. It already borrowed $115,000 back in April to demolish the building. Plus the parent group is asking for an additional $50,000 to remove asbestos.

"That is true that we'd be saving a lot of money in demolitions cost, but in turn you're asking for an additional $50,000, plus we're giving up land that has value," one member said.

The group says they don't feel like they should have to pay for that, since they asked the board to postpone a vote on the demolition in April.

"We came into the school board meeting in April, because we knew they could be voting on demolition and we wanted to have a little bit of time to see if we could turn it into a community center," says Marik.

No decision was made Monday night.  The school's facilities committee will meet again on Thursday to discuss that offer. The parent group says they need to raise $150,000 to cover the costs of demolition and renovation, and they say they already have three businesses in town willing to help out.

The offer to buy the building is on the table for the next two weeks.

The school board has already approved, and borrowed money, for demolition of the elementary school. That's slated for October. 

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