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Bemidji's Central school building available again after withdrawn offer

Central Elementary School in Bemidji on June 3, 2024. The school has been shuttered since June 2021.
Larissa Donovan
/
KAXE
Central Elementary School in Bemidji on June 3, 2024. The school has been shuttered since June 2021.

The Bemidji School Board again declared the closed elementary as surplus property after an initial purchase proposal from the Red Lake Nation fell through.

BEMIDJI — A former elementary school in Bemidji may soon be listed on the market after an initial proposal for purchase from the Red Lake Nation fell through.

Oshkimaajitahdah, a tribal entity managing 22 programs for the Red Lake Nation, submitted a bid to purchase the former school to expand its services in the Bemidji area, which the board accepted last November. The entity currently uses another former district building for its Bemidji office.

Since then, Red Lake withdrew its offer to purchase the school, and Central Elementary was again declared a surplus property in April.

While the minimum threshold price for the building set by the School Board is not public information, Superintendent Jeremy Olson told KAXE in a Friday, May 31, phone interview that the asking price would be public information once it is listed by a realtor.

Olson said he was open to engaging in conversations with anyone interested in developing the building near downtown Bemidji. The Board did set two provisions for the sale of the property: that it cannot be a school serving K-12 students, and that it can’t be used for the production, manufacturing or sale of cannabis.

Oshkimaajitahdah did not return a request for comment Friday.

Larissa Donovan has been in the Bemidji area's local news scene since 2016, joining the KAXE newsroom in 2023 after several years as the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting.