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Lawrence Township school district buildings in play

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The Lawrence Township school district is beginning an evaluation of some of its real estate holdings that could result in three of its buildings being sold and part of another being renovated to accommodate private-sector tenants.

The district last week hired Summit Realty Group to evaluate its assets and recommend whether certain district properties should be sold, leased, repurposed or redeveloped.

Robin Phelps, the district’s chief financial officer, said she hopes to have Summit’s recommendations ready for consideration by the school board next month. Once recommendations are approved, Summit can begin marketing the properties. Any transactions proposed as a result of that marketing would also require board approval.

The district's real estate needs began to shift after closed Craig Middle School, 6501 Sunnyside Road, before the 2010-2011 school year.

There was no plan for the 246,000-square-foot building when it closed, Phelps said, but the district later decided to consolidate several functions there, a move that left the fate of three other buildings in question. “We felt like we had enough property that we needed some professionals to help us,” she said, noting that before hiring Summit the district had never hired a commercial real estate firm to evaluate its holdings.

Summit’s work will involve four properties:

-The former Craig Middle School, now called the Lawrence Education and Community Center. The building, which opened in 1970, has been partially renovated since Craig closed and will soon house the district’s administration offices. After the Oct. 20 move, employees will occupy the first floor of the three-level building. The Lawrence Township Foundation and Compassion for Kids, a not-for-profit, also are housed in the building. The city of Lawrence is leasing part of the basement as a training facility. That leaves in play about 100,000 square feet on the second floor, space that might be renovated and leased pending a recommendation from Summit.

-The Education Services Center, 7601 E. 56th St. The 20,816-square-foot building, which opened in 1965, will be vacant after district employees move into the former Craig Middle School. The one-level building and three acres of land are adjacent to Belzer Middle School.

-Lawrence Operations Center, 8301 East 46th St. The 52,620-square-foot building, built in 1923 and once occupied by Lawrence Central High School, has in recent years been used for storage and to house the district’s school maintenance division. Storage and the operations function were recently moved to the former Craig Middle School.

-The Center for Special Services Annex, 5626 Lawton Loop, East Drive. The 15,693-square-foot building on the site of the former Fort Benjamin Harrison is leased to Christians United Church. The Lawrence Township Foundation had occupied a part of the building, which is adjacent to 11 acres of land.

Summit principal Tim Norton said his firm will confer with the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority before making a recommendation about that property.

Norton said it’s too early to say what Summit will recommend the school district do with its properties because his firm is just beginning to evaluate them.

 

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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