published Monday, August 17th, 2009

For sale: 1 school in Walker County

IF YOU GO

The Walker County School Board meets today at 6 p.m. in the board room at the Walker County Department of Education at 201 S. Duke St., LaFayette, Ga.

ROSSVILLE -- Walker County school officials tonight will discuss what to do with the old Rossville Middle School property on Bull Dog Drive.

School board Vice Chairwoman Patty Hart said the building has drawn some interest from prospective buyers but officials might let it go to the highest bidder after tonight's board meeting.

"We've had a few calls on that building," Ms. Hart said. "If that doesn't come to fruition, then we might go ahead and auction it."

The old building took a bit of a beating as it sat empty and unsecured the last several months, she said.

Padlocks now keep people out, she said.

"Of course, this isn't the time to try to sell anything," Ms. Hart said.

She said she hopes the property is unusual enough to attract a buyer with something special in mind.

The school was built 50 years ago as the town's high school, records show. Rossville High and Chattanooga Valley High were combined in 1989 to form Ridgeland High School.

In 2008, a three-story, 94,000-square-foot middle school building was part of a $26 million project that also included classroom additions and athletic facilities at other schools.

School system spokeswoman Elaine Womack said vandalism has been repaired and the building is being dressed up a little.

"We have approximately 124,000 square feet in the building, about 7.68 acres in the property," Ms. Womack said.

Officials hope to generate some interest by presenting prospective buyers a building in good shape. Repair and cleanup costs are uncertain because most work has been done in-house, she said.

"We're still just getting it ready," she said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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