VCSC Wabash Avenue property

Tribune-Star file photo

The Vigo County Capital Improvement Board today voted to offer $3 million for the Vigo County School Corp.'s property on Wabash Avenue in Terre Haute that is currently home to the district's central administration offices. The school board still needs to take up the offer. The CIB wants the property for parking related to the downtown convention center project.

Vigo County’s Capital Improvement Board voted Friday to offer $3 million to purchase the Vigo County School Corp.’s Wabash Avenue property that is currently home to the school’s administrative headquarters.

The property is needed for parking related to the downtown convention center project, CIB leaders say.

The purchase is expected to be finalized in about 60 to 75 days.

The School Board is expected to act on the agreement at a future meeting. If approved, the district would lease the building at no charge from CIB through Sept. 30, 2021, unless the district relocates its central administration office before then.

“This is the key to moving forward with the convention center,” said Brian Bosma, attorney working with the CIB and former Indiana House speaker. “We had to find a solution here or abandon the project or move it to another place and start all over.”

The CIB also authorized board President Jon Marvel to execute a license agreement with the school district that allows immediate access for use of the existing VCSC parking lots by the Hilton Garden Inn.

The license allows for parking on the east, west and north VCSC parking areas.

Once the license is executed, the CIB agrees to pay for parking in the nearby Skygarden Parking Facility for school administration officials until they relocate, no later than Sept. 30, 2021.

The district will need about 50 substitute parking spaces. Four spaces on the VCSC west parking lot will continue to be reserved for the district, as well as space for a loading dock on the north side.

The district may also continue to use parking on the west side if it isn’t needed by Hilton Garden Inn, under terms of the agreements.

Bill Riley, VCSC director of communications, said, “Selling the building is part of our strategic plan that was approved in February, and the school board will take action on the matter once there has been an opportunity for public comment.”

Because of stay-at-home orders associated with COVID-19, “I can’t give you a more definite timeline than that right now,” Riley said.

Marvel said earlier this week the convention center project has to move forward.

“We have already sold the bonds for the project. That money is in the bank and can’t be used for any other thing than building a convention center,” Marvel said. “We can’t wait until next year to begin, as we would lose [construction] bids,” he had said.

Cost of the convention center, as of last November, was more than $34.5 million, up from $32.5 million, which included projected expenses for land.

By allowing Hilton Garden Inn to use VCSC parking lots, work can progress on a drainage structure at the southeast corner of Seventh and Cherry streets. That site had been considered for a second parking garage for Hilton Garden Inn, but was removed from the project by the CIB due to high costs.

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