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School board OKs building purchase

The District 196 School Board unanimously approved a plan to buy and develop a vacant building on Carrousel Way as its new central office at its meeting Monday night at Dakota Ridge School.

The district originally planned to update and expand its 36-year-old main office building, but, instead, moved forward with a plan to buy the building on Carrousel Way for $2.45 million. The board approved superintendent John Currie's signing of a purchase agreement on April 14 and the Department of Education approved the project April 22. Currie said the purchase agreement includes a four-year payment plan that will allow the district to make payments from its regular capital funds.

"This is an exciting time for us," Currie said. "We think it's going to be a great facility."

The expected cost to finish the interior of the Carrousel Way property is $1.84 million. Add on the $750,000 for improvements that will be made to the current district office and the entire project has a price tag of just over $5 million. That's over $1 million more than the district's original plan to update its current building, but Currie said the additional space will allow the district to move employees who are currently operating out of portable buildings.

With Monday night's approval serving as the final action, the board said it now hopes to get construction under way by late summer so district employees are ready to move into the new property by mid-January.