More school buildings up for sale

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A glut of closed school buildings are part of the real estate mix in the Grand Rapids area, but finding buyers is proving difficult, school officials told The Grand Rapids Press.

Eleven buildings in four public school districts are up for sale, The Press reported. The empty buildings are expensive to maintain; Grand Rapids Public Schools spends $30,000 to $40,000 annually on its empty schools, of which five are on the market, according to the report.

Grand Rapids city planner Suzanne Schultz said it can be hard to find uses compatible with the single-family neighborhoods where most of the schools are located, The Press reported. The families that live around vacant schools told The Press that they would like to see the buildings used rather than fall into disrepair.

Other former schools have been used for housing, nonprofit organizations and churches, The Press reported. Another issue is whether to accept low bids for the sake of bringing money into the district; Grand Rapids received a $1.6 million offer for three schools, about $500,000 lower than the listed price, The Press reported.

The Grand Rapids Press, “Why school districts are struggling to sell vacant buildings,” Feb. 13, 2011

Michigan Education Report, “Schools for sale,” Aug. 15, 2007