Buyer offers $50,000 for historic, aging Moline Elementary School

Stephen Austin has offered Moline Elementarythe Wayland Union school district $50,000 to buy the historic, but aging Moline Elementary School.

Bill Melching, the schools’ finance director, told the Board of Education Monday night, “The roof is in very bad shape and the building is deteriorating… I’m not a real estate agent, but that’s probably all that property is worth and its condition is getting worse.”

He was responding to board members’ questions about whether a better deal could be swung with somebody else.

Superintendent Norm Taylor was in agreement, saying, “I think this proposal is a win-win-win for the school district, for the community of Moline and for Mr. Austin.”

Austin and Taylor went before the Leighton Township Board and Planning Commission in two separate meetings last Wednesday and Thursday to talk about zoning and about how well the community would receive the proposal.

Austin, co-owner of Happy Camper Mobile RV Service and Retro Rentals of Caledonia with his wife, Shelly, do all phases of repair and restoration to campers, motor homes and vintage campers. They also restore vintage campers for Retro Rentals.

The Austins would like to remodel the building into a combination business and residence. He was told by the board and commission that Moline people would be pleased to have the building saved rather than razed and zoning considerations can be worked out.

Melching told the board the district could possibly use the $50,000 to pay down the bond or it could fund other capital improvements.

The old elementary school has been mothballed since 2003, and school officials have said not much has been for it since in the way of maintenance and upkeep.

Austin has pledged to allow the Moline Softball Association to use the softball fields in perpetuity, as it has done for more than 50 years. He also indicated he’d like to get things done quickly because he’d like to perform repairs on the roof before the snow flies.

At the request of Melching, the schools now will have a Market appraisal done on the building and property.

1 Comment

  • The Wayland Union School system has not used this building in years, has not kept up maintenance, the roof is in bad shape, mold everywhere (from what I’ve been told by those having been in there) and they aren’t jumping on the purchase offer? Mr. Melching wants an appraisal done now, when you have a buyer eager and ready to take this albatross off your hands? The appraisal should have been done some time ago if you knew there was a possibility to sell it in the future. Does the school system operate like the city and lets buyers wait while they contemplate what they want done with the property? If I were the Austin family, I would look elsewhere – it will take them forever to finally decide to sell the property. That’s what happens when there is no business sense in either the school or city. I think the $50,000 offer is more than fair and probably excessive due to the condition of the building. Good luck Austin’s, you’re gonna need it.

Leave a Comment