Negotiations planned for land swap deal

Finding mutually acceptable property value next step in fairgrounds move


By Sarah Pridgeon


Representatives from the School Facilities Department are expected to visit Sundance soon to discuss the sale of the fairground site, says Reggie Gaylord, School Facilities Commission. As proceeds from the sale will be used to match a State Lands and Investments Board grant, this decision will push the proposed land swap to its next stage.

“We had a first meeting with the School Facilities Department and explained the situation,” says Gaylord.

“They’re going to evaluate the number that was given to them to see if it fits into the regulations and standards of how to build these facilities.”

The price agreed for the fairground site will affect how much money is available to match the SLIB grant. This, in turn, will determine how much will be available to construct a new fairground on the land to be donated by the City of Sundance, near Green Mountain Cemetery.

Having purchased the land, Crook County School District would then be able to construct its new football field and track adjacent to what will soon become the Sundance school campus. Director Bill Panos, along with SFD staff members aware of the situation, are expected to be in attendance at the negotiations, Gaylord says.

“They are going to set up a meeting to discuss the land swap and pricing and so on so that everyone can get on an equal page,” he says.

“Everyone will need to get together at the table and make a number – one person throws out a number and then you negotiate.”

A date has not yet been set for the meeting, although Gaylord expects it to take place within the next few weeks, either as part of the next regular meeting of the County Commission or separately.

The agreed figure must then be approved by the School Facilities Commission itself, who will hold their next regular meeting in August.

“I don’t think it’s going to make the June meeting, but they can call us and we can make a special meeting,” says Gaylord.

“The SFD knows the timeline for the grant to help the fairground, so they’ll make sure that they hit those timelines.”

If the figure agreed upon does not exceed an amount that is acceptable, according to the rules and regulations of the department, the SFD is authorized to approve the deal.

“The commission also doesn’t need to do anything if it fits into the regulations and the budget, if there are no variances or astronomical reason for us to be involved,” Gaylord says.

“The department has the right to make approvals – as long as it fits into what the Legislature has in its regulations. I have confidence that it will work out, the School Facilities Department is pretty smart and they will come up with a plan and deliver that plan [to the County Commissioners].”

The County Commissioners determined the figure that would be presented for the sale of the current fairground land at their most recent meeting. The School Facilities Department will be asked to consider a price tag of $1,064,081.

“$899,081 was the Replacement Cost New figure from the County Assessor’s 2013 appraisal for tax purposes,” says County Attorney Joe Baron.

“This was very similar to the Replacement Cost New (RCN) values determined by the appraisers hired by the school district.”

The school district received two appraisals on the land, he adds. One returned an RCN of $891,102 and the other of $882,232.

“The County Commissioners valued the 16.5 acres of land at $10,000 per acre for the additional $165,000, since the RCN did not include the value of the land,” explains Baron.

If and when a figure is agreed upon, according to Clerk Treasurer Kathy Lenz, the Fair Board and County Commissioners will be able to consider a plan for the new fairgrounds and ask HDR Engineering, County Contract Engineers, to design the new site. Lenz will then be able to write the grant proposal to present to the SLIB board in September, she says.