When Challis School District officials asked the public whether they should sell the mostly unused middle school building, 28 people replied yes and 28 said no.
Superintendent Lani Rembelski said the question was posed to feel out people’s opinions and incite interest in the district possibly selling the building. Officials with Boyd Watterson Asset Management in Columbus, Ohio, have asked the school district to sell them the building. That firm intends to continue leasing space in the building to the Bureau of Land Management, which has been housed in the school since 2017.
According to Rembelski, many of the respondents who want the district to keep the middle school said they want the district to continue getting paid for the space. The school district collected $89,768 in rent from July 2020 to June 2021. Although Rembelski agrees that money is beneficial, she says renting building space out is uncommon for a school district. All of district personnel’s resources and time should be spent on students, she said, not being landlords.
The survey respondents who want the district to sell the building agreed with Rembelski. Some of them commented it would be better if the school district was in one centralized location. Commenters said funds from the middle school sale could be used to build a new auditorium near the elementary and high schools in Challis. The auditorium is the only part of the middle school used for school events.
Rembelski said school board members intend to hold another public hearing on the future of the middle school.