MET 120319 VCSC HQ BLDG

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza

The city of Terre Haute's redevelopment department is considering buying the current Vigo County School Corp. headquarters property at 686 Wabash Avenue. Steve Witt, executive director of the redevelopment department, said acquisition of the property would make a second parking garage for the new convention center project unnecessary and would speed the project. 

Vigo County schools superintendent Rob Haworth has had preliminary discussions with a city redevelopment official related to the sale of the administration building at 686 Wabash Ave. for possible use in the downtown convention center project.

Haworth has met with Steve Witt, director of the Terre Haute redevelopment department and a member of the Capital Improvement Board, related to possible sale of the administration building and property.

“I think it’s true to say we’ve been approached and there has been discussion. That’s about the extent of it,” Haworth said Tuesday afternoon.

Other parties also have expressed interest in the property, he said, although he declined to say who they were.

In recent discussions of the need for VCSC budget cuts and revenue enhancements, Haworth has proposed the sale of the administration building.

Were the administration building to be sold, the offices located there would move to an existing, repurposed VCSC facility that has the capacity. The proposal called for the sale of the administration building in Phase 2 of the plan now under consideration by the school board.

Haworth said he has informed the school board about his discussions with Witt, but the topic has not been discussed at a work session or board meeting. There is no specific timetable.

“It’s encouraging that someone has an interest in the building,” Haworth said. But, he added, “we’re a long way” from a specific agreement that would go before the school board.

A first step would be a property appraisal, which may be an action item that goes before the school board Monday.

“I don’t know what the building is worth,” Haworth said. “That’s how far removed we are” from a specific proposal or agreement.

Once the district made known its plans to sell the administration building, “Other groups reached out to us,” he said.

Jackie Lower, school board president, said she was aware of discussion between Haworth and Witt related to sale of the administration building, but she also said she had heard Indiana State University had an interest in the property as well.

The Scott College of Business is located just to the north of the VCSC administration and a major entrance to the ISU building is located along an alley between the two buildings.

Right now, “We certainly are in the very infant — if not fetus — stage of discussion” related to potential sale of the administration building, Lower said. The school district still doesn’t have a plan as to where it would relocate central administrative offices or what that would involve.

ISU spokesman Mark Alesia said, “The university has not been approached by the school corporation about the building, nor have we inquired about it.”

Witt could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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