The City of Marine officially owns the Marine Elementary School property, councilmen Bill Milller and Lon Pardun announced May 1.
“[We] would like to thank everyone for their help and support throughout this process,” Miller wrote in a short email announcing that the purchase was official.
The city has had its eye on the property since the Stillwater school district announced plans to close the school at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
Due to a district-wide freeze on post-consolidation planning, negotiations toward a purchase did not start until late 2017.
After in-person discussions, the city and district settled on a price of $950,000 last August. In October, Marine council members made the offer official and the Stillwater school board accepted.
The sale closed May 1 at a final purchase price of $910,000.
“Think of where we started, at $2 million,” Miller said. “I think we did OK for getting it done.”
With the backing of residents, Marine officials initially hoped to purchase the property for continued use as a school. It is not clear whether River Grove, the community school that launched in May Township’s Wilder Forest in fall 2017, would move to Marine. The school’s board has announced it will not leave before its lease ends June 30, 2022, if at all.
Plans for the property remain flexible. At an April 27 meeting, Marine residents and council members discussed potential uses for the roughly 17,600-square-foot building and surrounding 8 acres.
“There were a million different ideas,” Miller reported, “from the folk school to community gardens to a business incubator. We’ll have to look through it and see what’s feasible, what fits with our existing vision for the city.
“The meeting was not about the school,” Miller continued. “Grove is Grove. They’re their own entity. The meeting was about the city and that building. We wanted to do our own timeline and brainstorm short- and long-term uses for the building.”
A committee met the evening of the sale to begin sifting through the ideas.
“We’ll take the next few weeks to look over ideas and gather information,” Miller said. “Then we’ll make some recommendations to the council.”