published Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Commission agrees to buy David Brainerd School


by Dan Whisenhunt

Hamilton County Commissioners this morning agreed to purchase the David Brainerd School site for the Hamilton County Department of Education.

The purchase will cost $3.4 million, but Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services Gary Waters said the school board also asked the county to help pay for necessary upgrades to the property, which will raise the price to $3.5 million.

Waters said the extra money will pay for building code upgrades and foot equipment as the former school did not offer food service on-site.

Buying the school, located on Igou Gap Road, would help alleviate overcrowding at nearby East Brainerd Elementary School. Commissioners agreed to fund the project with short-term loans known as commercial paper. Commissioners are also considering funding other projects with commercial paper; commissioners have not tapped into money it is holding in escrow from payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements. The commission is holding on to the new money set aside for schools from these tax-breaks used to lure new businesses. The commission wants to use it to fund capital projects, such as school construction.

Commissioner Jim Fields, an attorney, abstained from the vote approving the purchase because he represented teachers at the former David Brainerd School.

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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