Education

Bibb BOE approves sale of Alex IV building

The Bibb County school board approved the sale of the Elam Alexander IV building to the Macon-Bibb County Land Bank Authority on Thursday.

The $350,000 sale price was about $50,000 more than the appraised value of the 6-acre property and former school building, said Superintendent Curtis Jones.

"Any time you're able to get back the value that's appraised, it's a good day," Jones said.

Alex IV, located at 3769 Ridge Ave. in north Macon, was on Historic Macon's "Fading Five" list of properties that could be renovated and repurposed as part of a citywide effort to find new uses for older properties. Unlike some of the other properties on the list, the Alex IV property has been well-maintained by the school district, said Ethiel Garlington, Historic Macon's executive director.

"Not only is it a historic building, but it's tucked in a historic neighborhood," Garlington said. "It's an anchor for the community, an anchor for the neighborhood."

Historic Macon will work alongside the Land Bank to hold public meetings and issue a request for proposal to find a new owner and use for the property.

The board voted 7-1 to approve the resolution authorizing the deal, with Tom Hudson being the lone opposition.

"It's because of the procedure, or lack of, that I cannot support," Hudson said, noting he had no issue with the sale itself.

Hudson took umbrage with the way the resolution was added to the agenda during Thursday's meeting without board members getting a chance to review it first. Other members said that had been the process for similar items, and board Vice President Jason Downey said that they had all been made aware of the potential deal during executive session without any objection.

"This is the same thing we've done before on the last three properties," said board President Lester Miller.

During the earlier committee meeting, the board approved a $2.3 million purchase of interactive panels for 13 schools -- Carter, Lane, Porter, Skyview, Williams, Taylor, Burdell-Hunt, Bruce, Heritage, Springdale and Southfield elementary schools as well as the Burghard Opportunity Center and Ballard-Hudson Middle School.

Those schools were chosen based on a survey of the technology available at each school in the district.

"From that, we looked at the schools that had the least," said Mike Kemp, the district's assistant superintendent for technology services.

Funding for the panels will come from the ESPLOST that expired at the end of 2015.

The board is next scheduled to meet for a budget workshop on April 19 at 6 p.m.

To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or find him on Twitter@MTJTimm.

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