Dexter’s Copeland building might change hands

By Lonnie Huhman,

Dexter Community Schools’ Copeland building might get a new owner in the near future.

At its May 6 meeting, the Dexter Board of Education unanimously authorized its Ad Hoc committee to prepare a draft purchase agreement for Copeland that is consistent with the outcomes and timelines previously outlined by the district.

At this point, DCS hasn’t yet officially named the interested buyer for the building, at 7714 Ann Arbor Street. Members of the Ad Hoc Committee have met with an interested buyer.

The building is home to the senior center, school district administration offices and Copeland Auditorium, which was the original theater in the Dexter school system. It’s used by the Dexter Community Players and Dexter Drama Club. In 1999, the community players’ website said the space was renovated into an amazing black box and a dedicated theater space.

The city of Dexter also uses the senior center for meetings.

As background for its decision, the school board report said, “At its workshop on March 13, 2019, the Board discussed the future of the Copeland facility and site based on the Executive Summary provided by administration. The Board established an Ad Hoc Committee consisting of Board Members Mara Greatorex, Dick Lundy, and Michael Wendorf and administrative staff personnel Chris Timmis and Sharon Raschke. The Ad Hoc Committee met on March 15.”

The Ad Hoc Committee identified its preferred outcomes:  The Board Office and Central Office will relocate to the Bates building. The timeline is the minimal renovation completed December 2019 and relocation happening by December 2020 and Copeland will be sold if an appropriate buyer meets minimum requirements: Sale price to target the appraisal; Copeland building and site future use to be consistent with its current use; An agreement must be in place between the new owners and the Dexter Senior Center that continues providing space for the Dexter Senior Center for as long as they choose to remain at Copeland. The current 25-year lease with Dexter Community Schools ends December 31, 2020; Consideration for High School Drama needs be incorporated; Upon written acceptance of terms of sale by both parties, 10 percent earnest money shall be due. 

One change during the May 6 school board meeting had Julie Schumaker suggesting that the wording, “use to be consistent with its current use” be changed to the use being compatible with Dexter Community Schools. The board agreed to this change.

The school district report said, “The criteria and the spirit of the terms were discussed. Members of the Ad Hoc Committee and individuals representing the prospective buyer thought that this would be a mutually beneficial opportunity and would have a positive impact on the local community.”

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