Colorado Springs School District 11 puts vacant land in University Park on market

Colorado Springs School District 11 wants to sell a parcel of vacant land that was slated for a new school and has opened the process for public bids and proposals.

“It’s one of our available sites that’s really appealing,” said Kris Odom, D-11’s executive director of procurement and contracting.

Classic Homes in 2009 gave the district the 9.9-acre site in lieu of paying fees for schools.

The land is at 2112 Collegiate Drive in the University Park development, adjacent to Dr. Frank Hough city park.

D-11 is not planning to build a new school in that neighborhood, Odom said, and no longer needs the property.

D-11’s board of education rejected an offer from Classic Homes to buy back the land, she said, because the amount was lower than the value determined by a Colorado Springs city ordinance formula that governs transactions involving land donated for a specific purpose, such as a new school.

The El Paso County Assessor’s Office valuation of the land in 2017 was $317,120.

"I’m not asking for a specific amount, I’m asking for you to give me your best offer," Odom said in terms of bidders.

As with the sales of other unused district property, D-11 officials are looking for a buyer who will use the land according to district desires, which include benefiting the community.

“The board always wants to know how you want to repurpose the land,” Odom said. “Is it a good fit for the community it’s surrounded by?”

For example, D-11 sold the old Helen Hunt Elementary School in the Hillside neighborhood to a foundation for $1, and it’s become a center for nonprofits that benefit the neighborhood, such as a food rescue program, English language classes and services for homeless families.

The title also will carry restrictions, such as the property cannot be used for alcohol, adult entertainment, marijuana or gun businesses, or another school.

“I’m getting calls from real estate brokers, small and big residential developers, as homeowners’ associations,” she said.

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