WLS starts process to buy new property to house STEAM center, athletic fields

Washington Local School District in Toledo, Ohio.
Washington Local School District in Toledo, Ohio.(WTVG)
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 3:57 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Washington Local Schools started the process to buy property that could eventually house athletic fields and a STEAM learning center, among other things.

A news release from an official with Drewso, Ltd. says the WLS Board of Education authorized the negotiation of the purchase of the former Tamaron Golf Course property off of Alexis Road on Monday.

The district said it hopes to use it as a place to replace the youth sports fields at Erme Fields, create a STEAM center (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) for K-12 students, and replace the Maintenance Hut that will be lost when the city moves Whitmer Drive.

The district also hopes the property could one day house a new elementary school. That could only happen once the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission releases additional funding earmarked for the district.

At this point, WLS says the OFCC has only approved land on Harvest Lane for the future middle school. That land is where the district will be losing the Erme Fields athletic space. The future middle school is a roughly $71 million construction project with funding from the state, according to the statement from an official with Drewso, Ltd.

“In order to accept the $71 million, the district had to own property, free and clear, that was ready to build,” WLS said in a social media post. “This beautiful property could be used at a future date to when OFCC calls and says they are ready to build another elementary, the district is ready!”

The district plans to buy 55.4 acres of the Alexis Road property from Drewso, Ltd., which once encompassed 118 acres of land that spanned Ohio and Michigan. Drewso Ltd. previously sold 63 acres of the Michigan property.

“In 2015 a group of five investors representing the entity Drewso, Ltd. bought the club’s promissory note and mortgage from Huntington Bank. When the then owner of the golf course later defaulted on its payments and property taxes, Drewso, Ltd. stepped in as the lender and assumed ownership of the financially struggling Tamaron in 2018,” the statement from an official with Drewso, Ltd. said. “The former owner of the club still operates a banquet facility and catering business in the properties clubhouse.”

The woman who runs her business out of that clubhouse, Vicky Furhman, wants to know what happens to her business if the deal goes through.

She operates the wedding venue at the Tamaron Golf Club, a space she leases from the owners of the property. She says she’s been left in the dark throughout the entire process and is looking for answers. She says her business has nothing to do with the land.

Dr. Kadee Anstadt, Superintendent with WLS, says the clubhouse is part of the deal.

“It’s just too beautiful a piece of property to not take advantage of its educational resources,” Dr. Anstadt said.

13 Action News reached out to the seller, asking what would happen to the wedding venue and will she be able to operate the business after the sale.

In an email, the developer said “yes, she is able to operate the venue after the property is sold. This is a common occurrence – commercial properties are sold and the buyer takes subject to the lease.”

Dr. Anstadt said the district has no plans to lease the land to any outside vendors.

Furhman says she feels stuck.