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School district moves forward on old school building

| June 22, 2007 12:00 AM

District board makes decision to offer school for sale

By ERIKA KIRSCH Western News Editor

The Libby School Board made the decision Tuesday to accept and distribute a Real Estate Purchase Agreement for the sale of the old school building in Libby.

The sale of the old high school building, located on the corner of Mineral Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard, has been under fire due to a court case attempting to stop the sale of the building. District Judge Michael Prezeau ruled in favor of the Libby School District following a suit filed by former Libby School Board member Gary Huntsberger. On April 17, Libby School Board members passed a resolution to sell the building. A petition submitted to the courts by Huntsberger stated the school property was not abandoned, obsolete or undesirable, as was stated in the school board's resolution.

According to court documents, the building lacks a transformer and there is no electricity in the building. Also, "restoration of the building for use as a school would be prohibitively expensive, and compliance with building codes would essentially require that the building be rebuilt from the ground up. The Lincoln Building has been abandoned for school purposes, and the entire property is both obsolete and unsuitable for the school purposes of the school district."There are currently two parties interested in purchasing the property, according to Kirby Maki, Libby School District Superintendent. "The board wanted to make sure those interested in purchasing the property received the Buy/Sell Agreement," Maki said. School board members made the decision to sell the property under the condition that the building be renovated, if possible. A minimum selling price of $150,000 and earnest money of 7 percent of the buying price was also established. The purchaser has 90 days to determine if the building can be remodeled, the board members agreed. If the building can not be remodeled, the 7 percent earnest money is refundable. There are currently two offers on the table for the property. Brian Scott of Scott Holdings in Kalispell had an initial offer of $128,000 and Huntsberger Enterprises, made up of Huntsberger and a group of local investors, offered $160,000 for the property, Maki stated."If somebody has a plan and the money to refurbish the building it would be great to make it a historic, beautiful place," Maki said. "If not, then it can be made into a park and parking for the school and community use."