SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Going once, twice, and sold, the controversial Family Dollar property went up for public auction on Monday. The property ended up where it was initially intended when the City of South Bend bought the land in June, as part of the new Saint Joseph’s High School’s campus.
The Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend was the only bidder during the Public Works Meeting on Monday morning. Saint Joseph’s High School Principal Susan Richter placed the minimum bid of $545,000 in the name of the diocese.
Afterwords, she said she was relived to be the solo bidder.
“I was happy to see we were the only bidders in the process this morning,” said Richter. “We're very excited and look forward to having a brand new facility and seeing what that can do for the city of South Bend and certainly for the Saint Joseph’s family.”
The piece of land will house part of the school’s new athletic complex.
The city bought the land in June and planned to sell it to the school for just one dollar. A judge ruled that violated the separation of church and state, but that it would be fair to put it up for public auction.
While the process took longer than expected, Mayor Steve Luecke said he’s happy with the outcome.
"The purpose of public auction was to throw it open to the public and see if anyone else was interested and I was delighted that there was only the one bidder, but I think the process worked the way it was suppose to and it cleared up any question about whether we were giving special advantage to a religious institution,” said Luecke.
The school said the six month process hasn’t delayed the construction.
"We're 150 days into the process of building the school and they are right on schedule. The stadium will start once the weather breaks,” said School Board President Matt Edmonds.
The new school location is set to open in August of 2012.
The South Bend Common Council must approve Monday’s sale, which is expected to happen on December 19th.