COLUMBIA — Columbia College is considering buying the YouZeum.
"We are in negotiations at this time," said Joanne Tedesco, spokeswoman for Columbia College, Friday morning.
Tedesco said that a decision could happen as early as Saturday, but she does not anticipate that. She said negotiations might take some time because it is a federally owned building.
Gerald T. Brouder, Columbia College president, said in a written statement that the college was negotiating with the YouZeum Board and the Department of Education regarding a "change of mission."
The terms set by the government outline that no matter what the change might be, it must serve an educational purpose.
Columbia Public Schools discussed buying the YouZeum during a closed session on June 3.
Board member Christine King said the Columbia School Board then offered $750,000, and the YouZeum came back with a counteroffer of $900,000.
King said the school board is no longer interested in purchasing the building.
School Board President Jan Mees said the building would have been used for administrative offices and possibly for the district’s gifted program. Some of the YouZeum’s exhibits might have been left in place for students to access during field trips, Mees said.
“Although this was an enticing opportunity for us, it just wasn’t the right time or the right place,” Mees said.
The YouZeum was expected to serve about 60,000 visitors annually, but since its opening on May 1, 2008, the YouZeum has only had around 40,000 visitors, according to a news release.