Madison: Wingra School has been operating its private elementary school inside the Dudgeon School building for 33 years. A non-profit group rents the building from the city for a dollar a year, and Wingra and the other tenants pay the $212,000 a year in operating costs.
Thursday, Wingra School sent a letter of intent to purchase the building from the city. There was no price included in the offer. That will be negotiated after each side has the building appraised.
"The letter of intent is basically just to see if Wingra School and the City of Madison are on the same page or in the same neighborhood to see if we have room for negotiation," says Wingra School Board President Jo Anne Sturiale.
Wingra School says the building needs $2.5 million worth of repairs. The original boilers need replacing. The city won't pay to replace them, and Wingra won't pay unless it actually owns the building.
"This is really what drove Wingra to go after purchasing the building," says Director Diane Meier.
"We really would like to purchase this building. We really would like to make this building our home," says Sturiale.
But Alderman Tim Bruer says the city should put the property back on the tax rolls by turning the building into low income mixed housing.
"The potential for providing mixed use housing development in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods is an opportunity that the city cannot walk away from."
Bruer says the building is worth $6 to $9 million. School officials hope for a more modest appraisal.
"There are some people who think it should be based on future value. We are strongly supporting current use," says Sturiale.
Alderman Bruer says he would also support seeing the School district acquire the building and use it to ease overcrowding at nearby Leopold Elementary.
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