The heating system is being converted in the recently shuttered H.A. Hagg school building in Clarkfield, yet no real decision concerning it's future has been made according to the building's new owner George Duncan.
Duncan a property investor from Meadville, Missouri purchased the property on Aug. 1 for $6,100 as the lone bidder in an auction held by Yellow Medicine East. Since then his purchase has been approved by the YME School Board, he has toured the facility, spoken with the Clarkfield Economic Development Authority and other city officials and has set about converting the building's heating system.
Yellow Medicine East has entered into an agreement with Duncan to lease the gymnasium portion of the building and is currently using the locker room space for Jr. High football. YME did retain ownership of Hauge Memorial Field just north of the school building and the Jr. High football has held their practices and games there.
This winter it is expected that the YME Jr. High basketball program will use the gymnasium area of the Hagg school building.
Over the phone Tuesday, Duncan confirmed that he's tasked Bruflat Plumbing and Heating of Clarkfield to install a gas heating system in the gym area to replace the boiler heating system that's traditionally heated the school. Duncan said he expects to spend roughly $8,000 for new gas heaters.
"The older section of the school has been relatively winterized, so now we're working on further reducing the heating cost," said Duncan.
According to YME's budget, minimum maintenence for the school ranged from $45,000-$60,000.
On touring the school Duncan said, "It's a lot bigger that I anticipated. It's just a huge school." He further went on to compliment the city of Clarkfield saying, "I was amazed at what a nice clean town Clarkfield is." Duncan said he plans on being back in town in the near future.
Duncan reiterated that he purchased the building because he believes he can profit from it.
Duncan has a history of bidding on vacated school properties, at times turning around and finding another buyer to purchase the buildings and in other instances refurbishing the properties for apartments or other uses.
During a conversation preceding the school board approval of the sale, Duncan said he had no intention of taking personal action that would be of detriment to the property. "I would keep the integrity of the school. It is not going to be stripped or gutted... it will be well taken care of," he said.