District’s bid for adjacent land rejected

by nathan oster

Big Horn County School District No. 3 is continuing its search for additional land for parking adjacent to new middle school after its offer to purchase a third of an acre across the street was rejected by the property owner.

Supt. Barry Bryant said the school board authorized him to enter into negotiations with the property owner after the board came out of an executive session held during a special meeting Wednesday at the high school.

Bryant said the school district made “the max offer” that was authorized by the state for the purchase. “It was rejected,” he said.

The money would have come from a fund set up by the Legislature for “opportunity purchases,” said Bryant. The School Facilities Commission, which administers the fund, had approved funding for purchase of the parking lot in Greybull.

Approximately $1 million in opportunity purchase funding was appropriated by the Legislature, but it’s for purchases all around the state, as districts look to buy land for new schools or other facilities.

Bryant said the rejection of the school district’s office means it’ll be status quo moving forward, which means staffs and students will have to continue using the old swimming pool parking lot, the Buff Gym parking lot or one of the side streets in order to access the middle and high school campus.

“Right now it’s not a big deal because it’s so nice, but when it gets cold and there’s snow and ice on the roads, it will be more of an issue,” said Bryant.

In other business on Wednesday night, the school district approved the hiring of Seth Hoblit to fill a one-year, temporary, special education paraprofessional position at the elementary school and Cody Welsh to serve as a special education paraprofessional and administrative assistant at the middle school. It’s a split position for Welsh, as she will spend 80 percent of her time as a paraprofessional, the other 20 percent as an administrative assistant.