RINGSTED - While the Armstrong-Ringsted School Board still hopes to find a buyer for its Ringsted building, the site could face the wrecking ball by summer's end.
"We do have a Ringsted building committee; it's a group of community members, and they've asked us to go slow with plans for demolition," said Armstrong-Ringsted Superintendent Randy Collins. "We told them that we would make no plans until Sept. 1. So there's no timeline right now. However, if we don't have a viable option to use the building soon, then we may have to look at demolishing the building before it begins to deteriorate."
Even with a new whole-grade sharing agreement with North Kossuth and Sentral starting this fall, plans to close the Ringsted building have been talked about for several years.
"Our main objective was to save the district $150,000 a year that we spend keeping the Ringsted building in operation," Collins said. "But now we want to be diligent; we don't want to leave an eyesore for the town. We'd prefer it to be used as a commercial building, to bring people here and provide jobs."
Once the building is vacant, it can deteriorate quickly.
"An example is the paint on the walls in the building," Collins explained. "It's solid on the walls now. But it will start to peel once we stop heating and cooling [the site]. And if they come in and test, and that's lead paint, then we've got hazardous materials, and it will double the cost because now you have hazardous cleanup. It doesn't take long for a building to deteriorate when it's not being used. The timing is a necessity to move faster, even though that's not what some people would like."
There are also items from the building that could be used or sold if not allowed to sit for too long. These include the cooling unit.
A Ringsted building committee meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 14.