TU withdraws bid for surplus TPS facility
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Thursday, September 01, 2011
9/01/11 at 8:27 AM
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The University of Tulsa has withdrawn its bid for a vacant middle school facility along 11th Street that Tulsa Public Schools declared surplus.
The announcement was made Wednesday by David Hamby, TU's director of university relations.
Hamby said in a written statement that "following several weeks of negotiation with Tulsa Public Schools," TU withdrew its offer to purchase the former Wilson Middle School property.
TU submitted a bid in July to buy the school property, which recently closed as part of the Project Schoolhouse consolidation plan.
Superintendent Keith Ballard commented months ago that TU's $2 million bid was lower than the $3 million Tulsa Public Schools must repay on bond-funded improvements there.
He told the Tulsa World on Wednesday that price, in general, was ultimately the deal-breaker.
"We have tremendous respect for TU. We would have loved to see them move ahead with their program plan," Ballard said.
"That said, we have a financial responsibility to the taxpayers, and we couldn't come together on the price.
"We could just not reconcile the difference on what we thought the property was worth and what the bid was."
The Tulsa school board declared surplus seven buildings that were closed in the spring as part of Project Schoolhouse, plus a previously vacated building and a vacant plot of land.
The Wilson facility, 1127 S. Columbia Ave., was the first to be opened for bids. TU was the sole bidder.
TU officials would say only that they made a bid to buy Wilson "to meet the needs of our academic enterprise." They never divulged any specifics about its planned use.
State law requires that any school properties intended for sale must first be declared surplus and offered for public bid. School districts are free to accept or reject those bids and then enter into negotiations for private sale.
In addition to Wilson, the Tulsa Public Schools surplus properties are: Addams, Barnard, Cherokee, Chouteau, Roosevelt and Sandburg elementary schools, plus Pershing school, a vacant building at 1903 W. Easton St., and a vacant lot called the Samuel Morse site at 7019 N. Victor Ave.
The district recently received bids on the former Barnard and Roosevelt sites, as well as on the Samuel Morse site.
The Cherokee and Sandburg properties were offered for sale at the same time, but neither attracted bids.
"We are entertaining offers and having discussions with buyers on all of the properties we have declared surplus," Ballard said Wednesday. "We need to be very open-minded about all school properties."
Original Print Headline: TU pulls bid for surplus school
Andrea Eger 918-581-8470