By Kristine Gill
Lack of interest in the old Austintown Middle School has prompted school officials to consider demolishing the building to increase the property’s marketability and value.
The property at 5800 Mahoning Ave. has been for sale since its second auction Sept. 20. The minimum bid for the building at that time was $2 million, but Mal Culp, supervisor of facilities and operations for the district, said demolishing the building could increase property value to $2.5 million.
Culp said he’s taken a few prospective buyers through the property since the auction but has not received any offers.
“I think a big reason is there’s a big unknown of the asbestos in the building and the abatement process of that asbestos,” Culp said, adding that the district has not had the property inspected for asbestos recently.
Culp said he thinks taking the building down will allow buyers to start from scratch and see more potential in the property. It is estimated by one company that demolition would cost $600,000 to $700,000.
Superintendent Vince Colaluca said the school board is considering the option and taking requests for proposals on the demolition cost.
“I really believe one of the reasons why it’s not selling now is our economy, too,” Colaluca said.