Gold Canyon Elementary School building to be sold for $1.8M

Posted 9/6/19

From left are Cami Garcia and Chelsea Connolly of the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board at a recent meeting. (Arianna Grainey, Independent …

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Gold Canyon Elementary School building to be sold for $1.8M

From left are Cami Garcia and Chelsea Connolly of the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board at a recent meeting. (Arianna Grainey, Independent Newsmedia)

Gold Canyon Community Church, which has been leasing the site of the former Gold Canyon Elementary School, has until Dec. 31, 2020, to purchase the property for $1.8 million.

The Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board recently approved an amendment on the church’s lease and a purchase proposal for the former school at 5810 S. Alameda Road in Gold Canyon.

A park built by volunteers on the school property --- Dinosaur Park, 5639 S. Alameda Road --- is not included in the purchase.

“The schools were voted on and approved by the public to be put out for sale, so I think this is something that shows that we are being fiscally responsible with our empty buildings and trying to do what we have with what we’ve got,” Dena Kimble, Governing Board member, said.

AJUSD was given permission to sell unused buildings at the Nov. 3, 2016, election. The remaining buildings that could be sold:

  • The old Four Peaks Elementary School, 1755 N. Idaho Road, now the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley – Superstition Branch;
  • Superstition Mountain Elementary School, 550 S. Ironwood Drive, now with Centerstage Church and The Zao Theatre;
  • and Thunder Mountain Middle School, 3700 E. 16th Ave., now used as the training facility for Superstition Fire and Medical District.

The Governing Board on Aug. 13 unanimously approved the sale of the building, with member Christa Rizzi by phone. Prior to the open meeting, the Governing Board met for 25 minutes in a closed-door executive session, not open to the public, to discuss the sale of the Gold Canyon Elementary School building.

The shared lease agreement is an amendment to a current lease agreement that includes a purchase provision with Gold Canyon Community Church, Governing Board President Jodi Ehrlich said at the open meeting.

“So, how the transaction will work, it calls for $100,000 earnest money deposit that will be paid to the district after completion of the appraisal of the property,” she said.

“They will continue to pay monthly rent --- as they are doing now --- until the period the property will close, so they have until Dec. 31, 2020 to purchase the property for $1.8 million. If that purchase is not executed, the $100,000 of earnest money is forfeited to the district,” Ms. Ehrlich said.

The Governing Board in July 2018 approved a lease where the church was to pay $2,550-a-month rent for two years and then after the two years, on year three, it would increase 5% each year following.

Apache Junction Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Krista Anderson at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Superstition Mountain. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Krista Anderson, AJUSD superintendent, said sale proceeds --- including the $100,000 in earnest money --- would be used for capital projects, such as addressing safety issues.

“We do know the November election is coming up and if that does pass those monies will not be available until July of 2020 and so … the earnest money will help us with some of that,” she said.

Voters in a Nov. 5 election will consider authorizing AJUSD to issue and sell $60 million in school-improvement bonds and exceed its budget by the lesser of $2 million or 10% of its revenue control limit.

The church holds prayer sessions at 9 a.m. and worship services at 10 a.m. Sundays, according to