THE OWOSSO MIDDLE SCHOOL was constructed on Water Street in 1928, serving first as the Owosso High School, before becoming the Owosso Junior High and now the current, Owosso Middle School location. The building sits on 4.5 acres and includes 26 classrooms. It is 121,900 square feet in size.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
The Owosso Public School board moved to approve giving Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle the authority to negotiate a bid proposal selling the Owosso Middle School during the Monday evening, Nov. 25 regular meeting. The school district had issued a request for proposal (RFP) in May, asking for a response by November. Authorizing Dr. Tuttle to negotiate a possible deal on the property is only another step in the process. The district received one bid by Community Housing Network (CHN), expressing an interest in the Owosso Middle School. Prior to any sale agreement becoming official, board approval would still be required.
As many already know, the approval of the bond in 2017 to create a combined campus on North Street (where the Owosso High School is located), that will include 6th-grade through 12th-grade students, will eventually mean the current middle school structure will be vacated. The district has made a conscientious effort to consider the city of Owosso and the community in seeking a buyer for the building, hoping that the dated facility could be repurposed in a positive manner for the area. The site needs far more in restructuring and modernization than the district could ever contemplate financially – with respect to the safety of students and modern academic needs.
CHN has been involved in a number of housing developments, primarily in southeast Michigan. The nonprofit organization is a committed advocacy group for developing affordable housing options. More information can be found at www.communityhousingnetwork.org. Any direct plans CHN might have for the OMS building have not been publically clarified at this point.
Dr. Tuttle shared that the district has reached out to a number of local leaders such as SRCC President/CEO Jeff Deason, SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath and Owosso Main Street/DDA Director Josh Adams for their input on the bid from CHN. Owosso City Manager Nathan Henne and Adams expressed that the city would like any negotiations to include continued city-use of the amphitheater and also the river, if possible.
Dr. Tuttle further explained that the CHN bid is structured similarly to the Woda Group, Inc. bid that saw the Lincoln School building repurposed just a few years back. She also shared that, however it works out, whether through a purchase agreement or an option to buy, she plans to work out details with CHN that will allow her to continue to solicit for more bids on the property on behalf of the district. This is in part because, for CHN to move forward with a possible purchase, there is a lengthy grant approval process through MSHDA – also similar to Woda. CHN has told Dr. Tuttle that they are very optimistic that they will receive the necessary grants.