Baker school district eyes new office space

The Baker School Board on Tuesday unanimously authorized the board’s vice president and the district’s superintendent to negotiate the purchase of property at Groom and Pettit roads for a new board office.

The property formerly housed All-Star Chevrolet until the dealership moved south of Baker on Plank Road earlier this year. Prior to that, the property and building were home to Graves Chevrolet.

Dana Carpenter, vice president, said the board must leave its office at the Whitney Bank Building by March 31, when the lease ends.

Carpenter said he and Superintendent Ulysses Joseph, as well as other committee members, looked at two pieces of property and found the property at Groom and Pettit to be the most feasible.

The other property, which housed the old Albertson’s grocery chain, was a suitable site, but prohibitively expensive — up to $2 million over a 10-year period.

The old Chevrolet dealership building, which is now vacant, is “huge,” Joseph said.

Carpenter said the facility could house the entire School Board office staff with at least 30 offices.

He said the exact square footage was not readily available Tuesday but it has divided office space.

Carpenter said the district does not need the entire 10-acre property, and he hopes to negotiate a purchase of the building at Groom and Pettit and five acres.

Clay Slagle of Volkert Inc., construction project manager for the school system, said the estimated appraisal of the property is $1.6 million.

The board, however in its motion, also authorized Carpenter and Joseph to make an offer on the property but not to exceed the appraised value.

Carpenter and Slagle also pointed out that before any offer could be made, they had to get information on environmental conditions, wetlands, underground tanks and renovation costs.