The Brookings-Harbor School District will give Upper Chetco School, located on 1 acre at 99603 N. Bank Chetco River Road, back to its former owners, Keith and Elaine Smith, because it can no longer afford to pay for the upkeep of the building, Superintendent Brian Hodge said.

"If there's any expansion, we have room here in town, and the maintenance and the upkeep of the building is becoming more difficult," Hodge said.

Brookings-Harbor School District Business Manager Don Sweeney said the district spends $10,000 to 12,000 annually, which does not include any potential major repairs, on Upper Chetco.

Although the district has not used the school for classes since 2003, it has been required to insure the building and maintain it for liability reasons.

Recently, the district took the deed to a local attorney to have it looked over.

"We just want to make sure that the transfer of that property is done smoothly," Hodge said.

The district is waiting to hear back from the attorney.

Head Start, the preschool that has been using the facility, has been contacted, and will most likely move into the old Southwestern Oregon Community College building, Hodge said.

The district has reexamined its relationship with Upper Chetco after receiving a letter in mid-September from the district's Maintenance Supervisor, Brian Corpening, about maintenance issues at the school.

In his letter to the school board, Corpening wrote, "I am of the opinion, that it may be time to sit down and determine if it is economically viable to continue our relationship with Upper Chetco."

These remarks stemmed from water maintenance issues the school has had. The last maintenance problems cost $3,300 to fix.

Hodge said the district hopes to have the process complete by July when the new fiscal year starts.

Once the property is returned to its present owners, the district will pursue selling the 4 acres around Upper Chetco. The surrounding acres are district property, the acre on which the Upper Chetco School building sits is not.