The Manhattan-Ogden school board now owns more property in Pottawatomie County.

As part of the district’s $129.5 million in bond projects, the district was looking to build a $1.9 million warehouse facility on site at Manhattan High School East Campus, which will be vacated once the ninth grade moves to the West Campus. But after voters passed the bond projects in November 2018, the district kept looking for a better location.

The board voted Wednesday to buy the Bailey Moving and Storage warehouse at 810 Levee Drive for the appraised value of $1.1 million.

Assistant superintendent Eric Reid said Wednesday’s vote was the culmination of several months of negotiations and executive sessions for the board.

“We were always a little concerned about (the east campus location),” Reid said. “First of all, the footprint and being a residential area, and having a lot of truck traffic — how are we going to get them in, how are we going to get them out?

“As far as bond planning goes, that’s kind of what you do — you work with what you have,” he continued. “As I said at the beginning of the process, here’s the plan until we find a better one.”

810 Levee Drive is an industrial part of town, facilitating the heavy truck traffic. The purchase cost and a few minor improvements to the property to make it suitable is significantly lower than the $1.9 million the district would have spent on the Poyntz Avenue location, Reid said. Those saved funds will likely be put to other bond projects.

The building is expected to be used for general school district storage needs.

With an available warehouse earlier in the bond project timeline, Reid said the space might even help speed up other projects, as they’ll be able to use the warehouse to store furniture and construction materials.

The district also will consider moving its central kitchen from 1112 Hayes Drive, just west of the Levee Drive property, to the new warehouse, since it has five flat acres suitable for the potential facility.

District officials previously planned to expand east campus’ kitchen and relocate the central kitchen there, but that facility is more than 100 years old and would require extensive renovation work, Reid said.

The school board also approved a $17.6 million guaranteed maximum price bid from BHS Construction and Hutton Construction, of Wichita, for the district’s new Oliver Brown Elementary School in Pottawatomie County. The district had estimated the school would cost $20.5 million in the bond campaign.

The board also swore in new members Kristin Brighton and Brandi Santos, as well as incumbents Darell Edie and Curt Herrman.

The board elected Karla Hagemeister as the board president and Jurdene Coleman as vice president.