Peaceful Valley

 Rolling Town Chairman Dave Kautza enjoys the afternoon sun in front of Pleasant View Elementary School. The decommissioned school, along with its acreage and assets, are open for bids in an online auction that will end on Oct. 7.

By Brandon Kieper

One of the Unified School District of Antigo’s last-to-close rural elementary schools is about to transition into a new chapter of its history.

Pleasant View Elementary is officially on the auction block, presented for sale by the town of Rolling. There are actually three separate auctions. The school buildings 10 ten acres of land is the first, 20 acres of primarily forest land south of the school is the second, and the third consists of 154 separate lots of school assets, everything from desks and chairs to playground equipment and a lawn tractor.

An eerie silence echoes through the building, which only 15 months ago was bustling with the youthful exuberance that filled its hallways and classrooms for decades. Pleasant View, along with Spring Valley and Crestwood elementary schools, closed its doors at the end of the 2018-19 school year as the Antigo district consolidated students inside the city limits.

The Rolling township will retain the adjacent ball diamond and about 10 acres of forest land. Rolling Town Chairman Dave Kautza said this has been the intention since the Town Board began considering taking ownership of the property from the school district.

“One of the board members asked if the town would be interested in the school, so we looked into process,” Kautza explained. “All the area kids have played ball here, and if they sold it outright, probably the ball diamond would go along with it. Members of the community were interested in keeping something for the kids, to continue to play ball here.”

The town agreed to purchase the buildings, ball field, and 43 acres for $1 plus some legal fees, a move that was in process as Pleasant View’s final school year was winding down but not finalized with paperwork, deeds and titles until last autumn.

The deal included the town taking possession of all the assets the school district didn’t want, which explains the 154 assets up for grabs in the auction. The 20-acre forest parcel includes high and low lands, a pond, driveway easement and plots of Christmas trees planted by students over the school’s many years.

Kautza said the primary interest in the building has come from parties interested in various agricultural uses. The property is currently zoned for agricultural use. Other possibilities could be a private home, assisted living or apartments. One caveat for any buyer is that the building can never again be used as a school, according to deed restrictions.

North Central Sales Auction LLC is handling the online auctions. All three auction lots are available to view and bid on the company’s website.

Once new owners are in place for the two land parcels, the town of Rolling will benefit by having the land back on the property tax rolls. The hope is for that income to offset expenses the town has incurred since taking ownership of the school, including heating over the winter. The full commercial kitchen that once fed many students is not part of the auction and will transfer with the building.

As for all those assets, Kautza mentions that a walk-in cooler, riding lawn mower and playground equipment seem to be drawing the most attention. As of Sunday, the leading bids are $310 for the cooler, $330 for the lawn mower and $750 for the most modern Burk playground equipment set.

The long-standing Pleasant View Vikings wooden crest that faces the highway can currently be had for $25. The electronic scoreboard in the gym has a high bid of $45.

As for the school, the current bid is $4,200. The 20-acre forest tract has a bid of $19,000. Those numbers are sure to rise, as the auction has 24 days to go, scheduled to end at 8 p.m. on Oct. 7.

The final purchase must be approved by the Rolling Town Board.

“The reason that the purchase has to be approved is that this is the taxpayer’s money,” Kautza said. “I don’t really want to speculate on the price, we want to see as much as possible for the townspeople.” 

Along with retaining the cherished ball field, the town hopes to direct any profits towards town hall repairs and improvements.