Former Hinckley Elementary School purchased for $1.7 million

by Chris Studor

Oct. 17 board of education meeting

The former Hinckley Elementary School, located near the intersection of Center and Ridge roads, was purchased at auction for $1.7 million. The Highland Board of Education voted unanimously to accept the bid at the board’s regular meeting Oct. 17.

Kiko Real Estate and Auctioneers held the auction Oct. 11, at which time 19 bids were received, said Highland Superintendent Catherine Aukerman. According to sale terms, the sale will be finalized 45 days after board approval.

“At this time we have no knowledge of what the buyer intends to do with the property,” said Aukerman. “The only information we have is the name of the buyer which is Roy Berlocker.”

Aukerman said approximately 100-150 people came out to view the auction of the approximate 6.8-acre site currently zoned residential. In the spring of 2022, the board went before township trustees to request the property be rezoned from its current residential zoning to commercial zoning.  At that time, Zoning Board Member Gary Wolny, said the board “has an obligation to do its due diligence to the taxpayers since we think we would get a higher price for the property if it is zoned commercial.”

Hinckley trustees, however, rejected the request to rezone the property to commercial in a 2-1 vote. The new property owner could still come back to trustees to request the rezoning if the buyer’s intent is to build anything but residential on the site.

The building was put up for sale when the district replaced its three elementary schools, Hinckley, Granger and Sharon, with three new buildings. The project was funded by a voter approved bond issue. All three new elementary buildings were opened in the fall of 2021.

Comments on social media asked what the proceeds from the sale would be used for. A few questioned how the savings from not having to pay for the demolition of the building would be used.

Highland Treasurer Neil Barnes explained the funds from the sale of the school and savings from the fact that the district did not have to pay to have the building demolished would be deposited in the district’s Permanent Improvement Fund. He added that the sale price of $1,787,500 includes a 10% purchasers’ premium.

“We are very pleased with the amount we received for the former Hinckley Elementary and expect a quick closing,” said Aukerman.

In other action at the board meeting, members reviewed school calendars for the next several school years. Aukerman said there was very little difference from one calendar to another. She said the district works with Medina County to try and make as many dates countywide as possible. The future calendars can be viewed on the district’s website and Aukerman said the district will take input from parents as well as teachers.