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LibbyMt.com > News > April 2007 > $150,000 for Historic Libby High School

. Photo by Duane Williams, KLCB Radio.
Old Libby High School
$150,000 for Historic Libby High School
April 13, 2007

The Libby School District Board has passed a resolution to sell the Historic Libby High School. That opens a fourteen day period for protest and challenge of selling in District Court.

The schools are currently in negotiation with Scott Holdings on a buy/sell agreement. Scott Holdings plans to remodel the historic downtown structure into 12 to 14 office suites, some of which reportedly are spoken for. Scott Holdings has offered the schools $128,000 based on an appraisal by Tom Stevens, an appraiser from Missoula, of an "as is" value of $120,000. The appraisal was done for ConoverBond.

At the board meeting, Gary Huntsberger told the board that he and a group of local, undisclosed, investors would offer the schools $160,000 for the building and property. Huntsberger wants to demolish the building.

The questions Board Chairman Terri Kelly wanted answers to were: Who are these investors, and what is your plan for the property? Huntsberger was not forthcoming with any answers.

"I think it's your responsibility to bring your plan to the Board," said Board Chairman Terri Kelly.

"We need the same stuff Kate has been asking for from day one", board member Lee Disney told Huntsberger. The reference was to Kate Huntsberger, board member and Huntsberger's wife.

The school board asked the same questions of the Friends of Historic Libby High School when that group offered the board $100,000 for the building several years ago. And it is a good question. What does Huntsberger plan to do with a vacant lot on Mineral Avenue. How are he, and his investors, going to turn a profit on their purchase of the property? They certainly are not going to spend $160,000, plus the cost of demolition and reclamation, to create a public park, something the schools have proposed for years, if the schools were themselves to demolish the historic building.

Huntsberger did tell the schools he wants it in writing what restrictions the schools will put on the use of the property. That has been a sticking point in proposals from the Friends, ConoverBond, and Scott Holdings, the school's desire to control the use of the property after the sale to a new owner.

The schools have been of the position that they want to sell the building to someone who will rehabilitate it.

"We have heard what the public wants, and we are proceeding in that direction," said Lee Disney.

Story and photo by KLCB Libby News Radio, www.todaysbestcountryonline.com

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