The Cody School District is looking at selling property on Beacon Hill via online auction.

The sale is needed to help pay for a bus barn to go on the remaining land on the hill near the FFA barn.

At the May 4 work session facilities director Terry Gardenhire proposed to engage Swenson Auction to conduct an online real estate auction pending legal review of the auctioning contract.

The auction, which would be bid so many auction companies would be able to try for the service, could take place once the city approves the final property subdivision, expected in late June or July. The plan would be to conclude the auction in early August.

An online auction is one of two ways to sell being discussed, along with a sealed bid process such as was used when selling the old Sunset School property.

“We need to decide how to sell the property,” Gardenhire told trustees.

The plan is for trustees to vote on which way to proceed at the June 18 board meeting, so that progress can continue toward the time when work could actually start.

“We’re still looking at a bus garage bid in September,” superintendent Ray Schulte said. “Before that, it would be advantageous to have the Beacon Hill property sold and know how much money we have from it.”

Gardenhire said either option would allow for that timetable, so the decision is which option would result in more money for the district to use toward the new construction.

An online auction comes with more up-front cost – Swenson Auction for example charges $3,000 for a no-bid and a 5 percent fee, although the district could elect for the buyer to absorb all of the fee.

“I think we have a better chance to get a higher bid that way,” trustee Brandi Nelson said.

“I think the three grand – that’s not a lot to risk,” trustee Tom Keegan added.

Only trustee Stefanie Bell explicitly stated her preference for the sealed bid option as it had worked well with the old Sunset property.

This property is quite a bit bigger. Of the 36 acres owned by the district on Beacon Hill, two of three divided parcels, 13-acre and 12-acre lots, the district plans to sell. It will hold on to a 10.5-acre plat for the current FFA barn and future bus barn.

The current bus barn project timeline estimates the project being ready to advertise in June and be bid in July. The new building design is targeted for completion in early August.

The final funding picture will clear up once the extra land on Beacon Hill and the current bus barn location are sold. Since approving the plan to design a new bus barn on the site, trustees and staff have worked on how best to sell the land on Beacon Hill to maximize value.

Trustees unanimously approved building a new bus barn and maintenance shop on the hill in February.

Point Architects has been tasked with designing the new building, which will be near the FFA barn on roughly 11 acres of land the district plans to keep. It will also sell roughly 24 acres around it to help finance the new construction estimated to cost $3.7 million.

At the January board meeting, school staff led by Schulte, Gardenhire and the architects determined $3.7 million is not only adequate but also includes a cushion, according to numerous contractors and staff from Point Architects. Some of the land to be sold was appraised a year and a half ago when the topic of a new or renovated building was first broached. The complete Beacon Hill land was valued at $1.9 million. The current bus barn property is valued at $460,000. The rest of the funding will come from more than $1.8 million in separate funding.

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