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story.lead_photo.caption Work continues Tuesday on Springdale High School’s Bulldog Athletic Complex south of the high school on Pleasant Street in Springdale. This part of the complex will have an exterior track with a full-size soccer field on the infield. The northern part of the complex will have a softball and baseball facility. - Photo by David Gottschalk

SPRINGDALE -- The School Board on Tuesday agreed to buy property in the middle of town that will provide space for school support staff.

The board approved buying the Har-Ber Medical Plaza at 307 S. Thompson St. for $800,000, with the seller agreeing to give the district a donation in the form of a $150,000 discount.

Property purchases

The Springdale School District has bought these properties since March:

• Ozark Film & Video building, 3804 Kelley Ave., $770,000

• Old Zion Antique Mall, 17207 E. U.S. 412, $375,000

• Har-Ber Medical Plaza, 307 S. Thompson St., $800,000

Source: Staff Report

The building of about 9,000 square feet is just north of Northwest Medical Center. Superintendent Jim Rollins said he envisions it as an appropriate space for the district's coordinated school health department, including its nurses and social workers. That department is now housed in the old Washington School building on East Emma Avenue.

"It is an excellent opportunity for us," Rollins said, while presenting the plan to the board. "I think that opportunity is something we should not pass on because the needs of this growing School District are just enormous."

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The Francis E. McEvoy Revocable Trust is identified as the seller on the real estate contract. The board's vote to approve the purchase was 4-0. Three board members were absent.

The district looked at the building earlier this year, but its initial effort to make a deal were unsuccessful, Rollins said. The district instead bought another building adjacent to Sonora Elementary School for $375,000, a sale the board agreed to in June.

Soon after, the Har-Ber Medical Plaza owner expressed a willingness to do business with the district.

"He knew the needs of the district. He wanted to be a partner with us and wanted to make that facility available to us. So we then began to look at options to use both facilities," Rollins said.

After "lengthy negotiations" the district agreed to a price that was 83 percent of the appraised value, Rollins said.

In addition to moving coordinated health staff to the Har-Ber Medical Plaza building, it's possible the English language learners department could move there as well. Rollins said he'd like more time to consider such a move.

As for the facility by Sonora Elementary School, Rollins said he'd like to use it as another center for the district's pre-kindergarten program.

Springdale has about 1,400 children in that program. Many are enrolled at two prekindergarten centers, but 43 pre-kindergarten classrooms are scattered throughout the district. The facility by Sonora Elementary School could house about 10 classrooms, Rollins said.

The Washington School building, once vacated, could be fixed up to serve as another pre-kindergarten center, Rollins said.

In other business, the board also unanimously approved an operating budget for this school year. Comptroller Kelly Hayes projected expenditures of $199.7 million and revenue of $197.6 million, though he added he doesn't anticipate ending the year in the red.

"We will not be spending everything that's there," Hayes said. "Hopefully revenue will come in higher than expected, so I'm not at all concerned with that."

The district spent $193.2 million last school year, about $1 million less than it received, according to financial figures Hayes provided. Springdale ended last school year with a balance of $20.5 million.

Hayes said he's expecting about a 3 percent increase in property taxes this year over last year.

As for expenses, teacher salaries are expected to grow 4 percent over last year, from $94.9 million to $98.7 million. Step increases -- annual pay increases built into the salary structure -- account for about a $2 million increase, and the district had to add positions to match enrollment growth, Hayes said.

NW News on 09/13/2017

Print Headline: Springdale School District buys building for $800,000

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