Niles school board signs contract for sale of Westside

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Niles Community Schools Board of Education approved a contract with an Indianapolis-based developer for purchase of the school district’s Westside Administrative Office during Monday’s regular meeting.

According to the contract, TWG Development will buy the building for approximately $580,000 and convert it into a 60-unit senior housing complex.

“This opportunity gives us a chance to give back to the community in a way that they have given to us,” said school board president Greg O’Toole.

CEO Joe Whitsett told the board his company plans to rehab the current building and add another 28,300 square foot structure immediately to the east. They would be connected.

Whitsett said he also plans to give a portion of the property to the Cass Family Clinic Network (CFCN), which wants to construct a new 30,000 square foot health care facility there.

“They would complement each other nicely,” said Whitsett of the two facilities.

Niles Community Schools put the Westside school building on the market after voters approved a pair of bond proposal worth $40 million in May of 2015, paving the way for several major construction projects throughout the district that will begin this spring.

Supt. Dan Applegate said the Westside senior housing project would not interfere with bond proposal work and that the administrative offices would be moved to the Oak Manor Sixth Grade Center.

Applegate said money from the sale could be used to fund additional projects during bond construction, like improving traffic flow at district buildings.

Whitsett estimates that the Westside senior housing project will cost around $9.5 million. He said all subcontractor work on the property would be done by construction companies and contractors within five to 10 miles of Niles.

“We don’t bring people up from Indianapolis,” he said.

The sale is still contingent upon a number of factors, including that TWG obtain tax credits from the state.

Whitsett said they would apply for the credits in October and would receive the results by January 2017. If everything goes as planned, construction could begin in July 2017 and finish by July of the following year.

Cass Family Clinic Network CEO Mary Middleton spoke briefly about the proposed health center. She said it would allow the network to put the Niles Community Health Center and Niles Obstetrics & Gynecology under one roof. Both are currently located near Lakeland Health-Niles in separate buildings. The facility would include a pharmacy and primary care services.

She said the project is dependent upon state funding.