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Ridgeview Road property sold, priced at over a half million dollars

School board negotiates price well over assessed and appraised values.

Mount Horeb Mail Thursday, August 21, 2008w By Michele Kraft

Ridgeview RoadSOLD! The former country school at 8900 Ridgeview Road was the site of fond memories for many Mount Horeb residents. Formerly used as a half-day kindergarten, it had also been the home of fourth grade classes and administrative offices. Hearts and Hands Children's Center has been renting the building, and will be the new owners at closing in January of 2009.
Photo by Michele Kraft

Amidst concern that the school board wouldn't get a fair price for the property at 8900 Ridgeview Road without the aid of a real estate professional, the school board finalized a deal a few short months after advertising the property for sale in local papers. After a long negotiation process that included as many as 10 offers and counter offers from both parties, the board agreed to sell the property to Hearts and Hands Children's Center for $525,000.

The decision came during an executive session of the regular school board meeting on August 4. The sale will be finalized at the closing, scheduled for January 2009. In the meantime, Hearts and Hands, the purchasers of the property, will continue leasing from the school district. According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Wayne Anderson, Hearts and Hands will be responsible for any needed repairs should anything happen to the property in the interim.

"They take responsibility for the roof, the septic, and those other issues," Anderson said, "so if something were to go, they've accepted those potential liabilities."

Though the school board handled negotiations, an attorney will handle the legal aspects of the transaction.

"The building itself needed a great deal of work." Anderson said, "if we were to use it as an educational facility again, we would have had to put on a new roof, put in new windows, do some work with the well and the septic system."

Anderson stated that the property does not fit into any of the projected school district plans for the next 20 years.

"It's not big enough to build even an elementary school on it," Anderson said, "without buying more property around it."

Hearts and Hands Children's Center, owned by Julie Hamm and Patrick Burke, has been renting the property for nearly four years, and have been asking to purchase it from the district for the last two years. They were not the only party interested in purchasing, and serious negotiations could not begin until the board was granted permission to sell at last year's Annual Meeting.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to be out here," Hamm said, "it's a wonderful site for a childcare center. For us, it's perfect. The soccer groups meet out here, there are other groups that use it, and it fits in nicely with our use as well. I'm not going to say it doesn't need any work at all, because we're well aware of that, but it's stuff that can be done. The space itself, the layout, is really nice for us. This was going to be a transitional place for us, and after we were here for the six months, we'd planned to be here, it was the best option for us to stay. We didn't intend to stay, but we're happy it was excess for the school, and they didn't need it anymore."

Built in the 1960s, Anderson stated that the building became obsolete when the district began offering full-day kindergarten. As a half-day kindergarten schoolhouse, it was a viable site, but with only six classrooms and space for 150 students, it was no longer large enough to accommodate a full class size all day. Last used for classes in 2001 for half-day kindergarten, the building had housed 4th grade classes, administration offices and finally the kindergarten.

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