BY EILEEN PERSIKE
School District of Rhinelander administrators have been eyeing the St. Joe’s church and school property on N. Stevens Street as a potential solution to the district’s overcrowding at the elementary level. As a step to move forward on that solution, the board voted April 9 at a special meeting to contract with a realtor to make an offer on the property.
Board members were notified Monday night they may have been too late.
According to minutes from the April 16 meeting, board president Ron Counter announced that “an offer on the Nativity of Our Lord North/St. Joe’s property has been accepted from another party.”
A statement that isn’t entirely accurate according to the Nativity of Our Lord Parish business manager.
“We have an offer (on the property), but it’s definitely not sold,” Michael DeBay said, wanting to set the record straight. “It’s an offer with contingencies. We’ve had other interest and are expecting there will be more.”
District Superintendent Kelli Jacobi said she received word second hand of what she thought was the property sale Sunday.
“I am disappointed, but I haven’t given up hope,” Jacobi said. “Not all offers go through to completion. Am I hopeful? Yes.”
Jacobi was made aware that the property was for sale, and briefly toured the school, in December. Space needs were discussed with the Nativity property on the agenda for the first time for the Feb. 19 Capital Projects Ad Hoc Committee. Two special meetings on the topic followed.
If the offer that has been made is accepted, Jacobi said there are options to explore, including making existing buildings work as the district “has been doing.”
“I think the board understands our space needs,” Jacobi said. “We’re not done if we can’t have St. Joe’s, we will continue to look for spaces that meet our needs, and we can expand our search.”
Jacobi added that the district’s contracted realtor, Ron Skagen, may be asked to look for a building to purchase or lease, but they will wait and see what happens with the current offer made to Nativity.