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GIPS approves purchase agreement for Principal building

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 6:25 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Public Schools is one step closer to making its 300 acre empire bigger. During a board meeting on Thursday, they approved the terms of the purchase agreement on the old Principal building at 3025 College St.

GIPS said the terms are pretty straight forward. They will be purchasing the building for $3 million in cash, and they will pay in $375,000 installments over the next seven years. In addition to the asking price, the district will also be buying the existing furniture for an additional $50,000.

“That’s all been agreed to by the board, and so we’re waiting for that information, the documents we’ve signed them,” GIPS Chief Financial Officer Virgil Harden said. “We have to get them off to Principal Financial Group, and then they have to sign them of course. The intent is that we would close within 30 days.”

The building is originally appraised at over $6 million, but they are only paying half the price since Principal isn’t charging them interest. GIPS believes buying this 140,000 square-foot-space will save the city millions of dollars.

“Instead of spending $80 million for a new high-school, maybe we’re only spending $3 million for this, plus some renovations cost which could be substantial,” Harden said. “Even if it was $17 million or we were all in at $20 million, I’m pretty sure that’s a big savings to the community.”

The district purchased the property in an effort to plan ahead before they run out of space. They’ve been adding about 150 to 200 new students to the roster every year.

“It’s just natural growth that we’re planning for, and you have to plan for natural growth way ahead of when it really occurs, because if you don’t you’re going to be in a really painful situation,” Harden said.

GIPS is thinking about using the space as a freshmen academy, but they said they will engage the community on what they think is best for the district before making any decisions.

It won’t be until about 2025 before the district can make into a school site, however, the district does plan to move some of the administrators in temporarily over the summer.

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