If you've been following the story of College of the Redwoods' plans for the Jefferson School campus, you know the whole thing has not gone over well in the community or with the city of Eureka who had eyes for the property. Now it looks like CR has cold feet.
Here's a press release from Director of Communications and Marketing Paul DeMark:
CR may withdraw offer to buy Jefferson School
College of the Redwoods President Jeff Marsee announced today that he will recommend to the CR Board of Trustees that they withdraw their offer to buy the former Jefferson Elementary School from Eureka City Schools.
CR made an offer to buy the Jefferson site from Eureka City Schools in January. The Eureka City School Board accepted CR's offer. Marsee emphasized that even after CR's proposal to buy Jefferson from Eureka City Schools was approved, it was never an exclusive offer. Eureka City Schools accepted CR's request to have a 90-day review period during which CR could assess the structural conditions of the building and understand the concerns of neighbors and community members.
It was understood by CR and Eureka City Schools that other entities could also bid on the property during that 90-day review period. In the end, Eureka City Schools would make the final decision based on the best bid.
"We believe that the Jefferson School site would have provided a financially feasible opportunity to house our new career technical education programs and move the variety of training offerings now hosted at our Eureka Downtown Instructional Site to a location inside the City of Eureka," Marsee said. "We believed that CR's proposed investment of more than $2 million to purchase and renovate the Jefferson School was a strong commitment to the neighborhood and would have had many profound benefits for the Eureka community at large."
The college, Marsee said, does not consider other currently empty commercial properties in Eureka to be potential instructional sites due to the cost to renovate them and bring them up to required California building code requirements.
"We made our offer to purchase Jefferson School with high aspirations to increase educational access for Eureka residents and the North Coast community," Marsee said. "However, during our 90-day review period, it became clear to us in discussions with Jefferson neighbors and community members that there were dynamics involved with the property that we were not aware of when we submitted our offer.
"We want to thank everyone who shared their thoughts and opinions regarding our proposal for Jefferson School. We appreciate the overwhelming community support expressed for CR. We are encouraged by the plans the City of Eureka is in the process of developing with the Jefferson School neighborhood and wish everyone success with the project."