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Exchange Agreement proposed for Redwood Valley Elementary Property

At the September 9th Board Meeting, the Ukiah Unified Trustees will consider entering into an exchange agreement for the former Redwood Valley Elementary School property with GMB Realty, a limited liability corporation based in Oakland, CA. Benefits of exchanging the property include the District would no longer need to pay to maintain the property, the property can be redeveloped, potentially adding new housing and other opportunities for this area, and the District can acquire another property that will help them better meet the educational goals of the Board.


If the Ukiah Unified Trustees move forward with the exchange agreement, the surplus Redwood Valley Elementary School property would be exchanged for an income-producing property or a property that addresses other District needs either for anticipated enrollment growth or operational uses. The exchange agreement would open an exclusive 270-day window for the potential buyer to continue their analysis, which could include rezoning and other matters on the property, and for the District to locate a property for exchange.  


The Redwood Valley Elementary School property consists of approximately 35,231 square feet of buildings situated on approximately 12.44 acres of land. The Exchange Agreement is conditioned on GMB Realty’s acknowledgment and express consent to restrict and prohibit any and all commercial cannabis-related activities on the property. 


Property exchanges can help resolve facility, financial, and development-related issues for school districts and other public entities. The Redwood Valley Elementary property has been declared as surplus by Ukiah Unified Trustees. And now, by working toward an exchange agreement, the District can potentially save resources and money. 


“The District has been maintaining the property since it closed in 2010 but has not had the resources to do more than the minimum. It will be beneficial to shift resources to our other campuses,” said Steve Barekman, Chief Business Official at Ukiah Unified. 


The District is responsible for identifying the exchange property and determining whether the fair market value of the proposed exchange property is of equal value to the Redwood Valley property. Ukiah Unified Trustees must make final approval and acceptance of any exchange agreement or property.


Ukiah Unified Trustee Bea Arkin commented, “It’s been a long process, but we are excited to have finally found someone who will come in and revitalize this property for our community.”


Previously, Ukiah Unified formed a “7-11” Committees to determine the best use of the Redwood Valley property. The purpose of a 7-11 Committee is to advise a governing board, based on community input, regarding the use or disposition of school buildings, space, or property that is not needed for school purposes. The individuals on the committees included teachers, neighbors, and City officials. The Committee held multiple meetings and received community input. 


The 7-11 Committee made recommendations to the Board about how to handle the properties based on community input, declining student enrollment, and financial needs. In 2018, the Board voted to declare the site as surplus. Declaring a school site as surplus means the District does not anticipate needing this property for school-related uses. 


The Ukiah Unified Trustees meet in person. However, in-person attendance by the public is not allowed at this time. Members of the public can view meetings live or at any time after a meeting on the District’s YouTube Channel by following this link. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvrRjxT-CILBVvDMZQ2aw9Q 


Public comments at Ukiah Unified Board Meetings are made by phone and are limited to three minutes per speaker. Follow this link to sign up for public comment before the meeting start. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfn7qbES3DBggptnnog20zuVdSgR0tATos3rT-Gn3Ipdy1aMA/viewform  


Visit www.uusd.net for more Ukiah Unified information and news or contact UUSD Communications and Community Engagement Officer Doug Shald at dshald@uusd.net or 707.472.5005 with questions.