The “lease-leaseback” method to build the new Central Kitchen facility on J Street was approved in a 4-2 vote by the Oakdale Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees at the Nov. 5 regular meeting.
The dissenting votes were Mike House and Bill Dyer. House had stated that he’d prefer to table the matter in order to have more time to process the information. The decision was made following a presentation from Ron Holcombe who has been OJUSD’s construction project manager for approximately 13 years.
Holcombe explained three different methods of construction project delivery, stating that in his time with OJUSD they have always used the “design, bid, build” method. Other methods are “design, build” and “lease-leaseback.” Holcombe recommended lease-leaseback method at this time because he feels it would enable the district to have more control and more transparency in seeing costs and details, including a guaranteed maximum price, especially considering that the district is dealing with limited funds to complete the projects. The method will be based on the Lodi model of lease-leaseback. Holcombe noted that contractors have more incentive now to participate in lease-leaseback projects than when the economy was booming. He called the method “pretty foolproof.”
The Central Kitchen is estimated to cost $1.1 million. There are also several other construction or improvement projects on the prioritized facilities plan that will be built within the next five years with about $3.75 million derived from cost savings on previous projects and developer fees.
In other business, the board approved an action on the district’s Brady Road property. They voted 5-1, with trustee Diane Gilbert dissenting, to move forward with continuing the current Ag lease then having the property appraised after the City of Oakdale’s General Plan is completed, which is expected in nine months to a year. Also, depending on Oakdale High School Ag department personnel factors, the district could also move forward with developing part of the 26-acre property into a school farm to be used by the FFA and 4-H students and in so doing also try to work out a deal with the lease holder to see about farming the remaining acreage. A school farm, at least to start, is only expected to be a couple of acres.
House said he hesitated to spend money with the school budget and unknowns with the election.
Gilbert had asked why, after 20 years, that the district was still holding onto this property because it is not practical to use as a school site. She later expressed concern about establishing a school farm on the property and then later selling the land and taking away the program. Gilbert also said that she’d still like to see what the property is worth if it doesn’t cost a lot to appraise.
Superintendent Marc Malone concurred with Gilbert about her concerns of halting a program once it was started but added that he doesn’t see all 26 acres being developed for a farm. He said that the current lease terms are that the lease holder must be able to harvest the crop that is planted or the district would have to pay the lease holder for the value of the crop.
Holcombe chimed in and said that on the high end as Ag land, the district may get $25,000 per acre, further noting that $75,000 per acre was paid for it.
Malone was directed to check into the cost of what an appraisal would cost for the land and how long the appraisal value would last.
The next regular meeting of the OJUSD Board of Trustees will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10 at Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 N. Second.