SB School Board approves sale of downtown headquarters building to the city

NOW: SB School Board approves sale of downtown headquarters building to the city

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SOUTH BEND, Ind., --- The South Bend Community School Corporation’s board voted 4-2 on Monday night to move its downtown headquarters into the former middle school that's now the Brown Community Learning Center. The move also means the city would take over the headquarters building.

The multimillion-dollar deal could mean both savings for the school district and the city.

“We promised during the referendum that we would do everything we can to leave this building. It helps us save in parking and elevators and heating and electricity. So we defer that expense and we get to relocate,” said South Bend Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings, Superintendent

The district said the plan is to now move from its downtown administration location at 215 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd into Brown Community Learning Center at 737 West Beale St. by July of 2024.

They would use the $2.8M from the city’s purchase towards renovating Brown for the new headquarters.

The district estimates the move could save them nearly $5M over the next ten years, funds that could be put towards students.

“We completed what was called an efficiency study and we looked at every area of our operation to make sure we were as lean and efficient as possible and getting rid of the administration building was one of those recommendations,” explained Cummings. “We continue to click through those efficiencies to make sure we’re spending our funds closer to students and closer to schools.”

The South Bend Common Council already approved the city’s $7.8M appropriation request from their income tax fund to support the purchase of the six-story headquarters building and their move out of the County-City building, where they are condensed to just three and a half floors.

Officials said the move would give the city more space, better accessibility, and save them money as well.

“We be looking to save about $200,000 in annual maintenance costs,” said South Bend’s City Controller Dan Parker.

“Having enough space to actually house all of the people that work in that space as well as a space that just kind of makes sense for the way we do business is once crucial sort of day to day. Another piece is accessibility to the public.”

Officials on both sides of the deal told ABC57 they believe the transfer could benefit everyone involved including the County.

 “We’re saving all the dollars that we can do that we can put those back in the classroom, back in the teacher and staff salaries,” said Cummings.

 “We get the operational space we need. We get a building that’s more accessible and we’re going to save money on our operating expenses, added Parker. “The county can then relocate some of their operations that are in other buildings to our current space, consolidate some of their operations and save money as well. So it’s sort of win financially and operationally for all three entities.”

If the Board of Public Works approves the building purchase in their upcoming meeting on Sept 27, the sale could be finalized by October.

If the school corporation isn’t out of their current building by July of 2024 they will have to pay the city $300 a day in rent. That number will gradually increase after the first six months.

More details on the agreement can be found here.

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