by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

CARL SAHLKE and his wife, A’lon, are both graduates of Durand High School, both attended Doyle Knight Elementary, and their children all attended Doyle Knight. Carl has been an auto mechanic for 32 years, 14 of which he has spent at his current location just outside the village of Lennon. Carl is excited for the opportunity to “help the village grow.” (Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)

Durand Superintendent Craig McCrumb and the Durand Board of Education re-opened bidding for Doyle Knight Elementary in Lennon on Feb. 15 after the Victory Biker Church of Lennon declined to purchase the building earlier this year. The church had been renting the building from the school system with plans to buy the building for $125,000, spending time and resources cleaning and repairing the building, but ultimately, church officials determined the necessary repairs to be too extensive and costly to undertake. The Durand Area Schools returned the church’s rental payments as a sign of good faith.

Bids were due at noon on Monday, March 13, and the two bids received were a $22,000 bid from Lennon-area mechanic Carl Sahlke and an anonymous bid for $7,700. Sahlke addressed the board during its Monday, March 13 meeting, explaining his plans for the building. While he will wait to see if his bid confirmed on March 29 before creating detailed plans for the building, he said he does plan to turn the south end of the 18,459 square-foot building into a tire and auto service station. Some of the services he will perform include front end alignments, as well as brake, strut, and shock repair and diagnostics.

Sahlke seriously considered submitting a bid for the Doyle Knight property during the first round of bidding that concluded on Jan. 11, 2016, but he did not have enough time to fully analyze his financial situation. This time, however, he was ready.

Additionally, Sahlke brought along a representative from Holland Heating and Cooling for the walk-through of Doyle Knight on March 2, so he understands the building will require extensive repairs to its water infrastructure, among other necessary fixes. While he did not fully examine the building for deficiencies, Sahlke has a pretty good feel for what he is getting into, and he knows “there is a lot of work to be done.”

While the veteran mechanic has plans to use the gymnasium for his tire and auto service shop, he is still formulating a plan for the rest of the building. Many village residents talked about the need for a community center during the numerous community forums the Durand Board of Education held prior to accepting the $125,000 bid from the Victory Biker Church, and Sahlke is still open to the idea. He did note that everything is contingent on funding, but Sahlke said he looks forward to working with the residents of the village to determine the best use of the local landmark.

Durand Board of Education Considering Doyle Knight Bids was last modified: March 21st, 2017 by Karen Elford