The Cleveland Heights-University Heights discussed the possibility of selling the former Millikin School property at a meeting last night and decided to request a new appraisal.
The executive session, closed to the public, was set specifically to discuss district property and was not a regularly scheduled meeting.
The appraisal will assess both the school building and the Severance-Millikin barn.
"The appraisal will be based on the best use of the land under current zoning code," district officials wrote in a press release. "Once Superintendent Douglas Heuer receives the appraisal, the board will then determine the path forward with the property, which may well include putting the property up for public auction. The board remains committed to finding and pursuing a course of action that best serves the entire community."
The building's most recent appraisal was in 2005, and the district said the building was worth $2.4 million at that time. Cleveland Heights Councilman Jason Stein challenged the $2.4 million appraisal at the most recent regular board meeting, claiming it was no longer relevant because the appraisal had been performed before the housing crisis and the Great Recession. Stein also said the school’s appraisal documents show the Millikin school property was valued at $874,400, as long as the property would be utilized for educational purposes.
K-12 Orthodox Jewish school Mosdos Ohr Hatorah has offered to buy the building a few times, and most recently offered $550,000 for it. Mosdos is also working on its own appraisal.
Alan Rapoport, a former Cleveland Heights mayor and an attorney representing Mosdos, said the new appraisal is key for "decent" negotiations to begin.
"At the end of the day, (the sale of Millikin) not only has to be fair, but perceived to be fair," he said. "... It would be nice to have some guidance, in my clients point of view, what they should pay for the property and so the School Board knows what it should sell it for, so they’re not accused of giving it away."
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