Jackson site on the block

Public invited to provide input on property disposal.

The for-sale sign isn’t up yet, but School District #83 is moving closer to selling the old JL Jackson school property.

The board has received approval from the Ministry of Education to proceed with the disposal of the land. There were previous attempts made by the school district to retain the land and lease it instead, but this approach has been unsuccessful.

A lease option was preferred because it would provide an ongoing revenue stream for the school district. Proceeds from a sale would be retained by the school district.

The 12.3 acre site is located in downtown Salmon Arm. The J.L. Jackson school building was torn down eight years ago.

There will be a public process involved with selling the property at fair market value.

“The board will now work through this public process to potentially dispose of portions of, or the entire, school property,” says Bobbi Johnson, school board chair.

Johnson says the board is still determining the best location for the replacement of its current office and will also be considering whether any land should be retained for a future school site.

“Once the board has made decisions on those two issues, the amount of available property for disposal can be finalized.”

The ministry approval is conditional on the sale and transfer of title being completed between April, 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. The property has already been redesigned as Town Centre in the city’s official community plan.

“The board hopes there are interested parties that will be willing and able to work with the district to purchase property within this time frame,” says Johnson.

“The board will work with the city of Salmon Arm to have the property appropriately zoned to enhance the community and maximize the value of the land. All proceeds from the sale are retained by the school district and can be used locally.”

Some potential tenants that have expressed some interest in the property include the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the school board itself for the development of new administrative offices and Okanagan College, which is looking to expand the campus.

A Downtown Community College committee has identified the Jackson site as its preferred location for an expanded college, and the college board recently voted to proceed with plans to acquire a downtown site.

The board is inviting anyone with comments or concern about the disposal of surplus properties at the

But the Jackson site is not the only property going on the block.

The other sites declared surplus with the board seeking permission from the ministry to dispose of, include Ashton Creek School, new Jackson Annex, Mount Ida School, North Broadview School, North Canoe Annex, School Board Office, South Canoe Centre and a vacant property located at 4730 Fifth Ave. SW, Salmon Arm.

At the meeting the board passed a motion stating that those interested in commenting, or who wish to express concerns, about the disposal of the former Jackson property, or any one of the other eight School District #83 sites, should make a presentation at the Jan. 8 or Feb. 12 regular school board meetings.