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Board continues to collect Œold school¹ info

| September 24, 2004 12:00 AM

By Paul Boring, Western News Reporter

The Libby School Board will gather information on every option before rendering a decision on the fate of the old high school building, trustee chairperson Teri Kelly said on Tuesday at a regular meeting.

³It¹s important that we get all of the information,² Kelly said. ³We want to make an informed decision. We want to make the right decision.²

The school board is considering a handful of possibilities for the building, including demolition, selling the structure and property, or leasing the building.

³The school board has not agreed to do anything yet,² Kelly said.

At last month¹s trustees meeting, the board voted to have Superintendent Kirby Maki research what demolition would entail. He will pass on his findings at the October meeting.

Speaking for the trustees, Kelly told the audience that the board has not officially turned down a $100,000 offer by a local historic preservation group to purchase the building.

³We have not voted on that,² she said. ³The offer is still out there.²

If the district were to demolish the building, the source of the funding is a question mark. Kelly said, however, that money would not be taken from the general fund. As for long-term uses for the property if the district razes the building, she said the board has no plans to expend money on any project.

One audience member expressed concerns that the board did not allow for public comment at August¹s meeting when the trustees voted to have Maki research demolition. He implored the board to move slowly and deliberately while allowing the public its voice. Kelly said the board has been grappling with the old high school issue for three years, during which time ample opportunity has been extended for public comment.

³I think we¹re definitely moving slowly and we¹ve asked for plenty of public comment,² she said.

The board would not be disinclined to putting the decision to a community vote in the future, although Kelly said the public would need to have all of the information surrounding each option before ballots were cast.

³If we put it out to the public for a vote, we want the public to have enough information to make an informed decision,² she said. ³It¹s a big decision and we don¹t want to make a hasty one. We¹re expecting to have more information at the next meeting.²