A Jan. 2 closing on the sale of the Franklin Elementary School on Main Street was approved at Monday's regular meeting of the Rice Lake Area Board of Education.
Impact Seven, a community development corporation based in Almena, is the purchaser of the former school that closed in 2003 after 67 years. The purchase price is $112,500.
The development corporation's plans are for a major rehabilitation of the historic school into Franklin School Apartments.
"That school is an important landmark," said Matt Wysocki, vice president of organizational development at Impact Seven. "This is really putting it to great use."
Because historic tax credits were used to finance the project, details of what can and cannot be changed within the building, including its gymnasium, have yet to be resolved.
Resolution of those issues will determine the number of housing units the building can accommodate, with approximately 10-12 housing units planned for the building. Initial plans are for an additional eight three-bedroom town house units to be built behind the school building.
Last spring Impact Seven was awarded housing tax credits. It then had to find an investor to purchase those tax credits and set the goal of formalizing a design and plans for the building by year end. It has done that and now has ambitious plans to complete the conversion from school to apartments in the coming year with tentative occupancy by the end of 2015.
In other action, the School Board:
• Accepted the 2013-2014 audit report with its unmodified decision that means there were no major issues to correct. Business manager Pat Blackaller said two minor matters to improve are increased documentation of student activity funds at all the school sites and documentation the amount of time that is allocated to all federal programs.
• Had a first reading of the district growth/improvement plan.
• OK'd a half-time English as a Second Language/Bilingual teacher at Rice Lake Middle School, where three students with virtually no English skills have begun attending.
"We're struggling to give them what they need," said middle school principal Josh Tomesh. "We need to step up their interventions."
• Approved the resignation for retirement purposes of Patricia Ricchio, technology assistant, effective Dec. 29, after 18 years.
• Following closed session, approved a pay increase for district network technician Jake Hyllested.