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Wanted: Buyer For Central Portables

INDEPENDENCE -- Central School District will try to sell the half dozen portable classrooms it has located on the Central High campus.

INDEPENDENCE -- Central School District will try to sell the half dozen portable classrooms it has located on the Central High campus.

Programs housed in the modular buildings, meanwhile, will be relocated to other school properties before the start of school in September, said Mary Knigge, Central business manager.

Central School Board advised administrators last week to investigate selling the units back to the manufacturers or possibly other school districts, Knigge said.

A catalyst has been recent talks with the city of Independence. Central has been keeping those units on the high school's east parking lot via a conditional use permit.

Interim Superintendent Forrest Bell said Independence leaders want to see the buildings removed sooner rather than later.

The district was asked to come up with a plan to remove the units by September, though city officials said they could extend that deadline if a potential sale were guaranteed to happen later, Knigge said.

Central has approached the manufacturer of the modular buildings about a buy-back program.

"They'll tear them down, put them on a flat bed and remove them at no cost to us," Knigge said.

The district purchased two modular buildings in 2007 and another four in 2009. The units cost between $60,000 and $100,000, with ground and setup work.

The district would receive approximately 10 to 15 percent apiece through a buy-back agreement, Knigge said.

Another possibility is seeking out nearby school district's who have passed construction bonds and need temporary space, she said.

Proceeds from any sale would go toward facility projects, Bell said.

District programs housed inside the six portable buildings include a teen parent program, a life-skills class and an alternative education program. Plans are already under way to relocate those, Bell said.

"We will find a place for them in other district facilities," he said.

One possibility is moving one or more of the programs into the vacant teen center off 16th Street, Knigge said.

A citizen workgroup tasked by the district to examine the sale of unused or underused Central properties opined in January that the portables should remain where they are until a sale made sense.

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