Via The Des Moines Register: Turn school into egg producer's biosecurity site? Excerpt:
CORWITH, Ia. –One of the largest egg producers in the nation wants to take over a soon-to-close high school here to use as a biosecurity facility.
Hawkeye Pride Egg Farms submitted a letter of intent to the Corwith-Wesley school district last week, seeking to purchase the school for $1. The egg producer would use the building for equipment storage, a biosecurity facility and a truck wash station, the letter indicates.
Part of the interest in the school comes from a desire to have some staff and operations off site as a way to decrease the risk of spreading diseases, such as bird flu, said Ross Dean, director of sales and marketing for the company.
The company is constructing a 6 million-bird facility about three miles south of Corwith. It was reviewing off-site plans for some of its operations before Iowa was hit this spring with an avian influenza endemic that has so far forced Iowa farmers to destroy more than 26 million birds across 14 counties, Dean said.
"We want as few opportunities as possible to transfer disease and have any sort of contamination on the farm," Dean said.
The Corwith-Wesley school district is closing due to decreasing enrollment and tight finances. The last classes will be held Friday, and the official district dissolution will be June 30.
Residents and elected officials in the district have struggled for more than a year to determine what should happen with the building. The school has budgeted for am estimated $400,000 to $500,000 in demolition costs but has faced objections from some residents who would like to see the structure converted into a business or community amenity.