Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 2, 2014

Carter selling surplus schools

Mike James
The Independent

GRAYSON — The pending sale of three former Carter County schools promises to breathe new life into the buildings while removing a financial burden on the district.

The schools are Carter and Upper Tygart elementaries and parts of the hilltop campus where the Olive Hill Historical Center already owns the former Olive Hill High School and is turning it into an arts and education center.

The society is buying the rest of the hilltop complex, including the cafeteria, industrial arts center, the building most recently used as a preschool center, and parking spaces, according to society president Linda Lowe. Purchase price is the $45,000 appraisal value, according to school district finance director Andy Lyons.

Northeast Community Action Agency is buying Upper Tygart for the $80,000 appraisal value, Lyons said. Details of the deal is still under negotiation, according to Northeast director David Carroll.

The board of education approved the sales at its December meeting and is waiting for the state education department’s approval.

The board hasn’t approved the Carter Elementary sale because the high bidder at an auction to dispose of the school rescinded his $78,000 bid, Lyons said. The board is likely to accept the second-highest offer of $77,000 from a group of Olive Hill physicians, he said.

The historical society is excited about its purchase because it needs assured adequate parking, Lowe said. Also, the buildings included in the deal are historically significant, she said.

Lowe isn’t sure what the society will do with the buildings. A recent walk-through revealed no significant problems, and society officers will perform a more complete assessment once they close the deal.

If the sale goes through, Northeast is likely to use the Upper Tygart building as its operations center, Carroll said. The agency is quartered in another old school building, the much older Erie School, he said. The Upper Tygart school was built in the 1970s to replace a school that burned down.

The Independent was not able to contact the prospective buyers of the Carter building, which dates to the Depression era and was built by the Works Progress Administration.

Sale of the properties will take them off the hands of the district, which has had to retain insurance coverage and pay utility bills on the unoccupied structures, Lyons said.

Upper Tygart was replaced this school year by Tygart Creek and Carter Elementary by a similarly named new school.

When Tygart Creek opened, it took about 150 students from Olive Hill Elementary, and that made room for preschool pupils there, enabling the district to discontinue use of the old preschool center, Lyons said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.