By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — walton —Southeastern school board members accepted the donation of the Walton Salin Bank building Tuesday morning. The building will become the superintendent’s office.
The Walton branch of the bank closed its doors Sept. 6, but the ATM and bank sign will remain, said Jim Badger, senior vice president-director of marketing at Salin Bank.
“The Salin family has always given back to the communities they have done business [in] and that is a big reason for donating the building,” Badger said.
The school corporation will spend about $11,000 to get it going and make sure it is presentable, said Trudie Hedrick, the corporation’s superintendent. Annual insurance on the building will cost $1,000; flooring will cost $2,400 to $2,800; maintenance and repairs will cost $2,000 to $3,000 and Internet and phone access will cost $3,000 to $4,000.
The existing maintenance staff for the corporation will be working on the renovations, Hedrick said.
Monthly utilities for the building are expected to be $500 a month. The money will be coming out of the capital projects fund, where $40,000 has been budgeted for upgrades.
Hedrick anticipates turning areas of the old bank building into a board room for meetings and small teacher training or community events on the south side of the building.
“We want to make sure people feel comfortable to use the meeting space,” Hedrick said.
Board members met in a special meeting Tuesday after members couldn’t agree on a decision Monday night at a regular board meeting. Jack Cain, vice president of the board, was not president at the first meeting, making the vote tied 2-2.
Gary Akers, board president, and board member David Helms voted in favor of accepting the donation while Mary Hartley, secretary, and board member Ian Jay voted against the move.
When Cain attended the meeting Tuesday morning, he voted yes and the vote to accept the donations was moved with a 3-to-2 vote.
Akers said to get a donation of a building worth $500,000 at a cost of $11,000 seemed like a no-brainer.
Jay disagreed, saying he was having a hard time justifying the donation. At the board meeting, Jay said he agreed the former bank was a nice building with plenty of possibility, but was concerned with the ongoing costs.
“In a time period of declining enrollment and budget, I thought we might find a better way to use the funds,” Jay said after the decision. “Having said that, I understand the vote of the board and will support it moving forward.”
After talking with Ray Gusky, the executive vice president, chief financial officer and director of risk management at Salin Bank, Hedrick said they believe it will be 60 days until school staff will have access to the building to begin renovations.
Although a timeline of when it will be ready has not been determined, it should be during this school year, Hedrick said.
“One of the concerns I’ve heard is that I’m a brand-new superintendent and am leaving the high school,” Hedrick said. “It’s not an opportunity to move out, it’s to make the school corporation more visible.”
With the location of the building right off of U.S. 35, the building will be visible to the community, Hedrick said.
“I just believe it will create more of a presence for the corporation and hope the community supports that and sees the benefit for that,” Hedrick said. “The open door policy is still there, it just moved locations.”
The bank will keep control of the sign and insure it, but the Southeastern administrators will have control of the electronic portion. Other terms and conditions include a restriction on the building’s sale, should the school corporation have no need of it — it can’t be sold to another bank or financial institution for 10 years.
The building will house Hedrick; Jeanie Robertson, deputy treasurer; Maggie Wright, corporation secretary; Darlene Martin, treasurer, Dawn Robertson, data analyst/high ability coordinator; and Maria Funk, student services coordinator.
Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or email@example.com.