SALADO — For almost 90 years, the Salado Civic Center has stood as a centerpiece of the community; on Monday, Salado Independent School District leaders discussed the future of the building.

The structure opened in September 1924 as the community’s school and for decades was known as “The Old Red School House.”

Today, it serves as the administration building for Salado ISD, as well as the headquarters of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which governs private school extracurricular activities statewide.

The Salado Historic Foundation leases a portion of the property and has two historic log cabins on-site, and the Salado Village Artists also rent a building on the property.

The Salado Civic Center Foundation leased the building from Salado ISD for $1 a year, but it is responsible for utilities, maintenance and insurance, Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said.

But the foundation’s balance fund is evaporating and is expected to be exhausted within two years, he said.

The foundation has decided to turn the building back over to Salado ISD, cutting short a 50-year lease.

Currently, Salado ISD rents space for $1 a square foot, or $2,328 a month, from the foundation.

“The foundation’s expenses have exceeded revenue, so it is looking to return the building to the school district,” Novotny said.

The civic center foundation voted to transfer the property to Salado ISD by April 1, Novotny said.

“We’re working with attorneys to end the lease and subleases, and to restructure them,” he said.

“When we are negotiating new leases, what will the lease terms be?” asked school board Vice President Rodney Bell.

“This board has some decisions to make about leasing out parts of the facility,” said school board President Jim Reed.

“Who will we lease to, for profit groups or nonprofits? We need to know what our policy will be.”

Those decisions will need to be made soon, said board member Melanie Kirchmeier.

Further discussion and action is expected to be taken at the March board meeting.

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