North Royalton District turns down West Creek Conservancy’s offer to buy former elementary school

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio — The North Royalton City School District has turned down an offer from West Creek Conservancy, a Parma-based land preservation group, to purchase the site of the former Albion Elementary School.

West Creek has offered $250,000 on the 15-acre parcel near the northeast corner of Albion and York roads. The school district rejected the offer because the purchase was contingent on West Creek obtaining grants from various sources.

The bid was submitted on May 16 at a public auction of the Albion School property in the District Administration Building on Royalton Road, near Ridge Road.

“We had several interested parties, but only one showed up at the auction and (another) participated by phone,” Superintendent Michael Laub said. “Only West Creek made a real offer on the property.”

On Monday evening (June 13), the school board approved a resolution rejecting West Creek’s bid and authorizing the district administration to negotiate with West Creek, the entity that participated in the May 16 telephone auction. and/or any other party interested in purchasing the land.

State law requires school districts to hold a public auction when selling property worth more than $10,000, according to the Ohio School Boards Association. The logic is that a public auction, as opposed to sealed bids, brings more competitive bids.

However, according to the resolution council approved on Monday, the district has been unable to consider conditional bids, such as those submitted by West Creek Conservancy, “under the terms of the auction.”

“Now that the Board of Education has rejected (West Creek’s) bid/offer, (the District) is legally able to speak to any person or organization and seek the best proposal to bring back to the Board of education for consideration,” Laub said. .

The former Albion, Royal View, and Valley Vista Elementary Schools were replaced in fall 2021 by the new North Royalton Elementary School on State Road.

Construction of the new elementary school and renovations to high schools and colleges were funded by an $88.9 million bond issue passed by voters in 2017.

Last fall, the school district agreed to pay Hammond Construction Inc. in Canton $1.5 million to demolish Albion and Valley Vista and repair Royal View.

The district will eventually use part of the Royal View Building on Ridge Road just north of Ohio 82 for its new administrative headquarters.

In April, the schools and town of North Royalton announced that the district would lease part of the old Royal View to the town for a new, larger seniors’ centre. The city will pay a nominal rental amount, just enough to cover construction expenses such as utility bills.

As for the former Valley Vista School, the district announced earlier this year that Liberty Development Co. in Westlake was in the process of buying the property, on Wallings Road off State Road. Liberty plans to build a housing estate there.

Liberty would pay the school district $540,000 for the Valley Vista property, which measures nearly 22 acres, under a resolution approved by the school board in February.

Before finalizing the deal, Liberty will have 180 days – or six months – to investigate and review the property.

A subdivision on the Valley Vista property would likely require rezoning. The land, on Wallings near State Road, is now designated as a ‘public amenities’ district, which allows for government, civic, health, welfare, education and recreation facilities, but no housing , according to the municipal code.

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