AUSTINTOWN Middle school set to go up for public auction Aug. 29

If the starting bid isn't received, the district can sell the property outright.
AUSTINTOWN -- If you're in the market for some prime township real estate and have at least $2.2 million to spend, the school board may just have a deal for you.
At a special meeting Wednesday, board members passed a resolution setting Aug. 29 for a public auction for Austintown Middle School, 5800 Mahoning Ave. Bidding starts at $2.2 million.
The school, built in the early 1900s, will close when a new middle school being constructed on South Raccoon Road is completed.
Under Ohio law, a school district first must offer a school building it no longer uses to charter or community schools operating in the district. There aren't any, so the district is able to conduct the auction.
If no bidder comes forward with at least the starting bid, the district then may try to sell the property outright using a real estate agent, said Brad Gessner, board president.
At that point, the board will need to decide whether to demolish the building before the sale or leave it to the new owner. The age of the building likely means asbestos will be part of the demolition, which would add to the cost.
Making the transition
Earlier this year, the township approved rezoning of the middle school property from a combination of business, agricultural and residential to all business. The school board sought the change, saying it would make it more appealing to prospective buyers.
Sandwiched between Sleepy Hollow Sleep Shop and the former library, the 15-acre school property is situated along a commercial strip on Mahoning.
The school board last month awarded more than $16.8 million in contracts for construction of the new school with bids coming in more than 20 percent below budget. Hively Construction Co. Inc. of Canfield is the general contractor.
The three-story school will house pupils in grades six to eight and 44 classrooms of about 900 square feet each.

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