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Posted on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

Saline schools accepts $425,000 offer to sell Union School to Quantum Signal

By Tara Cavanaugh

The Saline Board of Education voted Thursday night to accept a $425,000 offer for the purchase of Union School by an entity of Ann Arbor-based Quantum Signal.

If the sale is finalized, the 35-employee business could move into Union in the fall, said Chief Operating Officer Mitch Rohde.

The company and the district have 90 days to complete the sale.


A research and development company is planning to relocate to Union School in Saline.

Angela Cesere |

The district’s administrative offices are in the process of moving from Union to Liberty Middle School. The move should be complete by October.

Tom Wall, assistant superintendent for administrative services, said moving into Liberty will save the district money.

Wall said the district spends about $150,000 to $160,000 a year on operational costs at Union. If the building is vacated and unsold, the district would continue to pay $80,000 to $100,000 in operational costs. Wall said the money the district doesn't spend on maintaining Union can be put back into the classroom.

The purchase of Union School will include the adjacent parking lot. Superintendent Scot Graden said Henne Field would remain under the ownership of Saline schools.

Quantum Signal, now based at 3741 Plaza Dr., is a research and development company that uses mathematical modeling and image processing to design systems and products for its clients, Rohde said. Clients have included the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, Amway, Sony, GM and Ford.

In its 10 years of operation, the company has created video games, programs for robots used by soldiers, and a face-scanning software that finds age spots and wrinkles.

Rohde said Saline would be the ideal place for his company to expand, citing its downtown location and proximity to businesses.Union School was built in 1868, according to the Saline Area Historical Society’s website. It was torn down and rebuilt in 1930.

Art Trapp, Saline’s downtown development director, said it is currently the oldest building owned by the school system. It has housed an elementary school, high school, and administrative offices.

Tara Cavanaugh is a freelance writer for To reach the news desk, call 734-623-2530 or email



Wed, Jul 14, 2010 : 12:35 p.m.

I do not dispute the need for the school district to sell the building but I am surprised at what seems to be a very low price for the building and lot. Was the school district taking blind offers? Were the citizens made aware that this building was for sale? This building would have made a wonderful arts center. There is an old school building in Toledo called "The Common Space Too". They rent out the classroom spaces to artists/dance studios/photographers/musicians or people that need a small office for a very reasonable price. The community would have benefited (surely more than 35 people would have been in and out of the space on a given day) as would the artists, etc., because despite the bad economy, rents are still very high.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Sun, Jul 11, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.

Considering that the Saline cafe was on the market for 5 years or more(??), RB Tool downtown sat vacant for even longer and we have a giant hole in the ground on West Michigan - it is amazing SAS got a buyer. This will bring workers downtown and that is always a good thing. Plus the property goes back on the tax rolls for some 'new' city income - Maybe this will be a turning point for new business in town.


Wed, Jul 7, 2010 : 6:30 a.m.

@jondhall I'm not sure if you live in Saline or not, but you can buy a lot of nice houses in Saline for a lot less than 425K. When was the last time you were in Union School? Been down in the basement lately or up on the second floor where the roof leaks? The administration was already committed to moving out. The highest vote when the "what to do with Union School" committee met was to tear it down. Why not put it back on the public tax rolls? I think this was a good move for the district.


Tue, Jul 6, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

Once again The taxpayers have been ripped off! I truly hope this give away was on the up and up. You can not even buy a decent house in Saline for $425,000.00. Mistakes like this occur when you have a school board with not business savvy, we need Vision not "change". Rationalize all you want this was a big Financial Mistake, was this on the open market, listed in the Multiple List System? Who was listing agent" Was this a pocket sale? All questions you should be asking and many more! Something is smelling not so good here!


Tue, Jul 6, 2010 : 6:36 a.m.

Personally, I wish there was a way for the facility to be converted to senior housing. I truly hope it works out. Let's just pray it isn't left vacant in five years waiting for the wrecking ball. By the way, when will their request for a tax abatement be submitted? I would say the sales price provided whatever incentive needed.


Sat, Jul 3, 2010 : 10:43 p.m.

The sale of a historic school to a growing IT company is truly visionary. It's great that this business is choosing to invest in Saline, taking over the burden of maintaining an expensive, aging, facility while putting it to good use. Truly a win-win for our community!


Sat, Jul 3, 2010 : 8:05 p.m.

The move is very good for the Saline Area Schools. Old schools do not sell well. They are not suitable for most business purposes. The fact the Saline Area Schools are getting $425,000 for this building and thus are not paying $80,000 to $160,000 on the building. There is no reason to keep the building, so why not sell it to avoid having to maintain it. School istricts don't have the money to just keep a building because it is historic. They need to sell the excess assets they have to support ongoing operations.


Sat, Jul 3, 2010 : 3:43 p.m.

Not so much a "give-away" price when you consider two things; one, that many special use facilities like old schools have a terrible time finding buyers and end up selling for $1 or are knocked down, and two, the carrying costs of the old building to the district are very high (article said $150k+). I'd say Saline Schools just saved themselves millions in long-term carrying costs....


Sat, Jul 3, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

I agree with InsideTheHall. This building is in great shape and has served us longer than ANY other school bldg. Seems like a give away price for a part of Saline history.

Ethics Advocate

Sat, Jul 3, 2010 : 9:55 a.m.

Interesting photo. It appears this school has only a front wall!


Sat, Jul 3, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

Only $425K for that historical building? Saline has been fleeced and selling in a down market doesn't make a ton of sense. I thought there were smart people on the school board until seeing this blunder.


Sat, Jul 3, 2010 : 7:23 a.m.

Will the sale of Union School help to recall the rest of your teachers or has this already happened?

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Fri, Jul 2, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

That is a good move by the School district. Saline schools has far too much space per pupil right now. Had the economy been stronger, had new families kept moving into town, there could have been need for more office space - but it now seems that selling of excess property is one of best solutions to the funding issue.