Medford School District places three surplus properties on the market

The Medford School District is liquidating three vacant properties that previously housed administrators and support personnel.

In a memorandum released in January, district officials announced their intent to sell three surplus properties — a warehouse at 750 N. Columbus Ave., the former administrative annex at 600 Whitman Place, and the former maintenance and Network-Telecommunication Services facility at 2801 Merriman Road.

In fall 2011, district administration and its business and human resources staff were relocated from the administrative annex and superintendent's building at 500 Monroe St. to the second floor of Central Medford High School.

The following spring, NTS and the facilities department moved out of the old Howard Elementary offices on Merriman Road and into Central's annex. The annex also doubles as the district's warehouse and purchasing department.

The district decided to maintain ownership of the former superintendent's building while leasing it to Maslow Project, a local nonprofit that provides support for homeless youths.

Facilities Manager Mark Button said the building and adjoining parking lot are in good condition and may be part of future expansion plans.

"It's a key location in case we do any expansion at Central," he said. "It makes sense in the long term for the district to hold on to that site, including the parking lot behind the complex."

As mandated by Oregon law, the district first notified public agencies of its intent to sell the three properties.

"First we had to send out a letter to all public agencies to see if they were interested," Button explained. "Once we went through that process, we could go out and take requests for quotes so everyone could have an opportunity to bid."

In October, Medford City Manager Eric Swanson sent a letter to Superintendent Phil Long saying the city was interested in obtaining the warehouse.

Button said city officials have since toured the grounds and promised to return in the spring to conduct an in-depth assessment of the building.

"They have not formally submitted a proposal for the property at this point," he said.

Deputy City Manager Bill Hoke said Tuesday the city is still interested in the property, particularly because of its proximity to the Santo Community Center.

On Jan. 9, the district received a $200,000 quote from Rogue Valley Fellowship for the Whitman property.

RVF elder Larry Anderson said in a letter addressed to Button that the church intended to use the property as its administrative headquarters and as a base for community outreach programs.

"Primarily, it will be used for offices for staff, but we would also like to see it used for after-school programs, mentoring, tutoring and teaching kids life skills," said RVF Pastor Kenner Gotzman, adding that a June 2013 Mail Tribune article, titled "Neighborhood of fear," prompted church leaders to look for ways they could impact west Medford. For the past 20 years, the church was housed in an industrial area along South Pacific Highway, making outreach difficult, Gotzman said.

RVF recently began renting Central Medford's auditorium and several of its classrooms for Sunday services and Wednesday studies. The church held its first service there last Sunday.

Gotzman said he expects the sale of the administrative annex to close Friday.

Button said he will select a real estate agent to list the Merriman property on the open market.

So far, no one has expressed an interest in it, he said.

Button said money for the sale of the three properties will be allocated to the capital fund and could be used for maintenance of existing buildings or for future expansion projects.

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or Follow her at

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