School District #83’s former office building in Salmon Arm is under new ownership.
The sale closed on Wednesday, Aug. 31, with WH Laird Holdings taking ownership of the Shuswap Street property from the school district for $675,000 – $125,000 less than the original $800,000 asking price. WH Laird Holdings owner Bill Laird views the dated structure as an opportunity, with a vision to create a business-oriented facility.
“I think we’re going to probably work on creating a business centre of sorts there,” said Laird. “I believe there’s a need for that in the town right now. There’s an opportunity for that.”
To get there, however, Laird acknowledges the building will have to undergo some renovations.
“The exterior absolutely needs upgrading…,” said Laird. “There’s no handicap access, which is one of the major reasons the school district had to build themselves a new building. So we have to resolve that. Right now my vision is to put an elevator in it. I have to do the costing, etc. but that’s the plan.
“Within the next six months or year, we’ll bring another building that basically needs some love back into being productive in the community. That’s our goal.”
As of Sept. 1, parking spots around the building will be paid parking.
School district spokesperson Alice Hucul says it has yet to be determined how funds from the sale will be used.
The liquidation of a second large piece of school district property is in the works with the sale of the former South Canoe School to the City of Salmon Arm. The two parties agreed on a sale price of $475,000, with the city planning to use the property as a its new public works yard. Closure of the sale – proving to be controversial among neighbouring property owners – is dependent upon approval from the Agricultural Land Commission.