(Clarinda) – Clarinda Schools continued to have discussions on the potential of leasing certain properties of the former Clarinda Academy.
Meeting in regular session Wednesday afternoon, the Clarinda School Board heard from Clarinda Correctional Facility Deputy Warden Aaron Sharr, who gave an update concerning the possibility of a lease with the Iowa Prison Industry for use of the former Academy gym. While he says the correctional facility supports the school acquiring the property, there are still some legal hurdles to be crossed.
“There are still some contract discussions with CYC, the state of Iowa contract is with the Clarinda Youth Corporation, and that board member, and then they contracted or sublet to Sequel (Youth Corporation), the parent organization of the Academy, before sadly they closed,” Sharr said. “So there is some of that going forward, and that is something that has to be cleared with the lawyers, before realistically moving forward on this from the side of the state of Iowa.”
Board President Greg Jones, who also serves on the Clarinda Youth Corporation board, says talks of getting out of the deal with state of Iowa are close, including a board meeting taking place Thursday.
Sharr confirmed the prison has no intention of making money off of the lease, but also confirmed the district would be responsible for maintenance.
“We cannot make money on a lease, but at the same time we have a budget to meet, so we can’t lose money,” Sharr said. “We can’t be paying out in order to make it happen, maintain the equipment and the facilities in there, so that is where we are.”
However, Sharr also noted the CYC had already undertaken some renovations to the gym including exterior doors, but says the state would hand over those projects to the district to take care of.
Also included in Sharr’s report was a reminder to the board that the gym is located next to the prison, and incarcerated individuals will be in the area.
“There will be incarcerated individuals out every day, Monday through Sunday, they’re our minimum custody that will go out and take care of some of the stuff on campus including maintenance, laundry, and the kitchen out there,” Sharr said. “But they will be in the area, but not on that side of the street so to speak.”
Also discussed was the potential of an inspection of the facility, prior to the district moving forward with the lease. Board member Darin Sunderman says he feels this would be important to do, including inspections of the HVAC system, the roof, and electrical systems.
“I personally would like to do the same sort of thing with the Academy, just so we know,” Sunderman said. “There’s a lot of air conditioners and furnaces, but the two rooftop units are pretty new, but then there’s those other ones in that concession hallway, I’ll call it, just so we know.”
The board will likely have agenda items at the next regularly scheduled board meeting on October 27th, including action on inspection services as more legal information becomes available to the board.