Board approves MTC student-built house sale at $376K

Erik Kaufman, The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.
·5 min read

Mar. 31—The 107th house built by Mitchell Technical College students is being sold to a Mitchell native.

The Mitchell Board of Education Wednesday approved the sale of the house to Bespoke Properties, LLC in Mitchell. The company is managed by Gray Determan, according to the South Dakota Secretary of State office. Determan is a Mitchell native and graduate of Mitchell High School.

The board approved the move at a special meeting of the board held online.

Joe Graves, superintendent of the Mitchell School District, said the bid qualified for approval because it met the minimum required bid of $365,000. He said it was not unusual for houses built by MTC students to receive one bid, and that the district looked primarily to make up for the construction costs of the structure.

"It's fairly common to get one bid. People come and look like anything else. Normally when you buy a house, you get a bid and then negotiate. But in our case we set a minimum price so we can pay our bills," Graves told the Mitchell Republic after the meeting.

During the school year, Mitchell Technical College students with the Architectural Drafting and Building Construction program build a home, usually ranging from 1,600 to 1,900 square feet. The build is mostly an educational exercise, with the home later sold to recoup any construction costs incurred, said Jared Hofer, dean of financial operations at Mitchell Technical College.

"Historically, we don't get a bidding war. Our goal is to just cover our costs and sell the house," Hofer said. "Our whole intent in building the house is for educational purposes, not to make money. Essentially, we put a price on it to cover our costs and anything we get above that is great, it gets reinvested in the program. But it's not to compete with builders and developers in town."

School districts are required by state law to sell surplus property either by public auction or sealed bid, Hofer said. Potential buyers are required to submit a $5,000 non-refundable check upon bidding. When a bid is approved by the board of education, as it was Wednesday, the district may begin formal proceedings to sell the house. If the purchase goes through, the $5,000 is put toward the closing costs of the agreement. If the purchase does not go through, the house remains the property of the district and the process can begin again.

It's a system that has worked for selling the student-built houses, Hofer said.

"I've been doing this for five or six years and we've never had an issue, and I'm not aware of any prior to my coming here," Hofer said.

Student will need some time to complete construction before the sale is final, as well. Hofer said house sales are usually finalized in May or June.

Hofer said this is the 107th house completed by students in the program. He also noted that while the only bid came in from Bespoke Properties, LLC, which was initially registered with the state March 25, there was more general interest from the market than in some past years.

"We probably saw more interest in this house this year than we have with a lot of previous houses, just because of the lack of inventory in Mitchell," Hofer said. "But, at the end of the day, we're happy it sold and we're drawing up plans for the next one."

The board approved the sale by unanimous vote.


Also at the meeting, the board is expected to act on several personnel items.


The new certified hires of Kindra Clark, ELA teacher at Mitchell Middle School, $44,750; Sarah Vogl, first grade teacher at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, $52,162; Sabrina Mattson, second grade teacher at L.B. Williams Elementary, $44,750; Chaydon Metzger, fifth grade teacher at L.B. Williams, $44,750; Savannah Schmidt, third grade teacher at L.B. Williams, $44,750 and Mika Faulhaber, fourth and fifth grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary, $48,120. All new certified hires are effective for the 2021-22 school year.


The new classified hires of Jamie Miller, paraeducator at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, $12.50, effective March 17, 2021; Angela Dykes, general food service worker at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, $12.75 at 5.5 hours per day, effective March 15, 2021 and Trena Porter, paraeducator at L.B. Williams Elementary, $11.26, effective March 23, 2021.


The transfers of Luke Norden, seventh grade math at Mitchell Middle School to fifth grade at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary and Kelsey Thury, sixth grade at Mitchell Middle School to seventh grade math at Mitchell Middle School. Both transfers are effective for the 2021-22 school year.


The resignations of Dustin Putnam, english teacher at Mitchell High School and Chase Jamison, instrumental music instructor at Mitchell Middle School. Both are effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year.


The retirements of Terry Aslesen, high school science and Kathy Mills, guidance counselor at Mitchell High School. Both retirements are effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year.


The early retirement of Cheryl Aslesen, 1/2 multi-age at L.B. Williams Elementary, effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Other business

Also at the meeting, the board:


Approved an open enrollment application.


Approved the previous board meeting minutes.

The next meeting of the Mitchell Board of Education is scheduled for April 12 at 5 p.m.