The St. Charles District 303 School Board continues to mull the future of some of the district’s unused property and vacant lots, including ballfields.
“The majority of them are actually not worth significant dollars,” Justin Attaway, the district’s assistant superintendent for business services, told board members at the Business Services Committee meeting March 23. “The most valuable properties that the district owns are the Pinehaven ballfields.”
The ballfields, which comprise 7.32 acres on Verhaeghe Road, most recently were appraised at $128,000. The appraisal value of the seven properties ranges from $3,800 to $128,000.
“The majority of them are actually not worth significant dollars.”— Justin Attaway, the district’s assistant superintendent for business services
“So in terms of impact on our budget, there’s no goldmine in those lots,” board Vice President Joseph Lackner said. “So I think for the board, what we have to look at is what is the potential use versus any potential carrying costs associated with them.”
Lackner said the board should look at “what it costs the district to own them versus what it might cost the district to no longer own them since none of them look like really great options for future school locations or district facilities.”
“The one or two exceptions might be those Verhaeghe lots that are sizable,” he said.
Board President Heidi Fairgrieve said the board should keep in mind that it is making money off the ball fields because it leases them to Wasco Softball. The lease expires in June 2024.
“So if the board did want to do something with those parcels, they would need to wait until summer of 2024,” Attaway said. “The district obtained most of these parcels because there was a time when there was a choice given between land/cash and providing land. And in these instances, where we have some very small parcels that exist in subdivisions, that’s how we obtained them. The developer opted to provide the district with what I would assume were the least usable parcels that existed in those subdivisions rather than providing land/cash.”