Last Tuesday’s Board of Education work session in Gilmer County brought discussion of the property known as Oakland Elementary School. Oakland Elementary was closed in the 2011-2012 school year due to a budget deficit. The discussion surrounding the school took place as a result of a written proposal, letter of intent, from Mr. Bill Pierce representing Oakland Academy Charter School.The details of the proposal can be viewed here.
The proposed purchase price was $304,750.
Mr. Erick Hofstetter, Director of Operations for Gilmer County Schools, presented a tax assessment sheet value of $2.136 million. There was discussion of the various updates that were done that probably increased the value of the property. Board members were not impressed with such a low proposal saying that was only about $7 a square foot. Board member Michael Bramlett went so far as to make reference that the building was not in foreclosure.
The discussion went from appropriate pricing to what the plan was for the property. Many ideas were thrown around from community center to emergency shelter. There was discussion of possibly seeking out colleges or other interested prospective buyers who might be interested. It was mentioned that colleges and the specialized school were not interested because the building is too far out. It was noted that there have been lots of verbal ideas, but this was the first written proposal. Bramlett suggested getting Mike Kirkpatrick with Kirkpatrick Reality involved to find a buyer.
During Public Participation Brian Pritchard approached the podium to try and gain some clarification. Pritchard specifically asked the question, “Am I hearing Oakland Elementary School is for sale and is that something you will take action on and formally put out the criteria for a sale?” Bramlett answered that it was simply a discussion. Pritchard went on to ask about a counter to this proposal. Interim Superintendent Jason Kouns had a lot to say about that.
“I would respond by simply saying that as Oakland Elementary is not actually for sale. This group just simply proposed an offer to us to see if we were interested in releasing this property. From what I have gathered from speaking to the Board, at this point we are not interested in releasing that property at the offer that was made.”
Jim Parmer interjected his thoughts that he is concerned with what exactly is going to become of this property. He acknowledged that it is going to cost Gilmer money and wants to discuss the possibilities.
Again Pritchard asked if the Board was going to get a realtor, get a concrete selling price and put the property up for sale. Kouns said the discussion will continue and from this point on it will focus on whether or not the BOE wants to release this property for sale.
This is one topic that is anything but simple. Full coverage can be seen below.