Flint, MI— The Flint Community Schools Board of Education “hopes to demo” some vacant high schools, Board President Carol McIntosh wrote in a recent email, while nine other former elementary schools have been listed for sale on the district’s website.
The board may decide to demolish Central High School-Whittier Classical Academy, McIntosh wrote in an email to Ian Shetron, one of a number of developers interested in the property who call themselves the Harvard Group.
The email exchange was in regards to the Harvard Group’s potential plans to restore and repurpose Central-Whittier. Shetron said he had been in talks with Superintendent Anita Steward since October 2020 and had gotten permission to perform a structural engineering study on the site.
He said he had been trying to schedule a time to perform the study for months, but district officials took weeks to respond to his emails.
On Aug. 12, 2021, McIntosh emailed Shetron, saying Central-Whittier was not for sale.
“As you may have heard the board say, we’ve voted to keep all high school sites. And when WE as a district decide to move forward with anything, it is our hopes to demo those buildings, so there is no need for the study of structures and added liability. Thank You!” McIntosh wrote.
In July 2021, board members resolved to sell some or all of the district’s 22 vacant properties as part of a plan to eliminate its staggering $18 million deficit.
The board officially opened bids to Flint residents during a board meeting Aug. 11. It is not clear when the board “voted to keep all high school sites.” Flint Beat reviewed recordings of past meetings and found no motion or vote on the matter.
At the Aug. 11 meeting, neither the board nor their real-estate attorney Gordon VanWieren specified which properties would be available. VanWieren said the board wanted to find interested parties first and then decide which ones to sell.
McIntosh, Interim Superintendent Kevelin Jones, VanWieren, and the district’s public relations firm Lambert did not provide a response by press time.
Board members voted to list all available properties and their tax documents on the district’s website Aug. 11. At the meeting, VanWieren said the list would be comprehensive of all available buildings but not all properties listed would be for sale.
Board members did not say how they plan on choosing which properties to sell but have full legal power to decide, VanWieren said.
Nine properties have been posted online: Anderson Elementary, Bryant Elementary, Carpenter Elementary, Civic Park Elementary, Cook Elementary, Dort Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Johnson Elementary, and King Elementary.
Building information, which includes a 2008 facilities study with estimated repair costs and tax records, is available for most of the properties listed.
Currently, bids are restricted to Flint residents, but the board will open it up to all investors next year, officials have said. Those interested can email Executive Assistant Monaca Elston at email@example.com with the subject line “Vacant Property for Sale” and their proposal.