Community foundation urges ESD to accept county bid for building.

April 22, 2017

ESD buildingCommunity foundation urges ESD to accept county bid for building.

#LettertotheEditor   #OceanaCounty #WestShoreEducationalServiceDistrict #CommunityFoundationofOceanaCounty

Dear Editor:

The Community Foundation for Oceana County (CFOC) – strives to make our community a stronger, healthier, more vibrant place to live.

It’s in that spirit that we, on behalf of our board of trustees, have urged the West Shore Educational School District (WSESD) to select Oceana County’s bid to purchase its building on South Griswold Street in Hart.

We think it’s a fair bid, especially since school taxpayers in Hart, Shelby and Walkerville already supported the construction and use of this building as a central hub for educational purposes, as well as other community purposes.

Here’s some background. The building was originally owned and operated by the former Oceana Intermediate School District. The large meeting room and tech lab, added in 1998-2000, were intentionally constructed to allow for separate use with stand-alone entrance and restroom facilities. Many community agencies and institutions also have been using these spaces regularly as secure meeting spaces, which are lacking elsewhere in Oceana.

When the Oceana ISD dissolved four years ago, the three school districts joined five others to the north that were part of the Mason-Lake Intermediate School District; it had one building on US 10 in Ludington. The new WSESD has been operating two buildings over the past four years. Now, it wants to sell the Hart building.

We think Oceana County is correct in wanting to purchase it. The public loss of this community asset would be detrimental to Oceana County and hurt property values. Some services to Oceana students are solely delivered from this building. There’s no clear local, alternative location. Having students in the southern end of Oceana County commute to Scottville — especially in the winter — is not a safe, realistic option.

Educational uses for this building could continue to include training not available in Oceana’s high schools, manufacturing training for disabled persons, and high school equivalency classes for migrant students. Also, the Oceana County Board of Commissioners has indicated a willingness to continue to make these spaces available to a variety of programs serving the public.

We implore the West Shore ESD to value the greater public good to be realized, and accept Oceana County’s bid to purchase the Hart ESD building. We urge your readers to communicate their views as well before the ESD board makes a decision on May 9. Address your letters of support to Westshore ESD, Randy Howes, Superintendent, 2130 W. US 10, Ludington, MI 49431 or email to: [email protected]

Tammy Carey, executive director
Nancy Sterk, board chair

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