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  • Monday, April 07, 2008

     

    ORANGE UNIFIED OFFERS TO SELL VPES BUILDINGS


    SPECIAL REPORT
    A community service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/

    ORANGE UNIFIED OFFERS TO SELL VPES BUILDINGS

    In a Public Notice announcement entitled “Offer to Sell Villa Park School Buildings, Historic Resource in the City of Villa Park”, the Orange Unified School District has taken a step back from its well documented original plans to demolish the two original historic Villa Park Elementary School buildings by offering to sell the buildings “for not less than $1”. While this may seem like a win-win situation for the preservation community and the current reluctant property owner, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

    The Public Notice outlines the bid process for the buildings including five requirements needed in a “detailed plan” from a potential winning bid. The biggest stumbling block is that the winning bidder must have an “appropriate” site to move the buildings. In a city without any available land or parks, the two historic buildings must be moved off the campus of Villa Park Elementary School to another site. The second requirement is that “the individual / organization must demonstrate the financial wherewithal to relocate, restore and maintain the structures". This includes posting a bond or security “in the amount of $ 1 million that will be forfeited to the District in the event that the structures are not removed from the site within the stated timeline”. The deadline for moving the structures is August 6, 2008. The final two requirements are that the buildings must be used for “educational or civic-related services” and OUSD must be released from all “financial responsibility and liability from hazards associated with the buildings in perpetuity”.

    The Villa Park Elementary School buildings are one of only three original Orange County schools left. They are the only buildings still on their original site and are listed on both the National and State Registry of Historic Places. They are the only remaining historic buildings left in Villa Park. In addition to serving as a school for students from not only Villa Park, but throughout the Greater Orange Communities, the buildings have served as a community meeting hall and as the meeting place for the Serrano Irrigation District. An earlier failed effort at saving the buildings by the Villa Park Elementary School Restoration Corporation failed to raise the needed money to restore the buildings. The state of the buildings on the elementary campus has been a safety concern to parents with children presently at the school.

    At the December 17, 2007 Orange Unified School District the Orange Unified School Board approved a OUSD Staff request to hire the Environmental Impact Report expert firm The Planning Center for $60,000 in educational tax funds to develop an EIR to allow OUSD to demolish the buildings. The Villa Park City Council became involved as OUSD held a community meeting to discuss the process and history of the district’s involvement with the buildings.

    Proposals are being taken until May 5th, 2008. The OUSD contact is Senior Executive Director, Administrative Services Mike Christensen at 714-628-4500.

    For archives of the Villa Park Elementary School building controversy CLICK ON:
    Historic Buildings


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