Appraisal needed before next steps in sale of Faith Elementary

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 9, 2021

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools now has the ability to dispose of the Faith Elementary property, but the Board of Education is waiting on an appraisal before taking next steps

Faith Academy, a new charter school planning to begin classes for the upcoming school year, is interested in purchasing the property. Late last year, it submitted a letter with a nominal offer to indicate interest and followed up with a $250,000 offer on the property. The district has identified $3.4 million in capital needs at Faith Elementary.

There was discussion about the district including furniture in the Faith Elementary sale at the commissioners meeting. Associate Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann noted in the past when schools have closed pieces of furniture that could be used in other schools were flagged by principals and the remaining furniture was sold off.

Faith Elementary is slated to close permanently in June along with Enochville Elementary. The board approved the closure of both schools as part of consolidation efforts facing a declining student population and an excess of open seats.

The county has first right of refusal on a piece of property if the district looks to dispose of it, but the commissioners declined the property. That gave Rowan-Salisbury Schools the ability to dispose of it by other means laid out in state statutes, including an upset bid.

Board member Travis Allen appealed to the school board Monday night to consider the timeline of the charter school, that the property is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it and other interested buyers could counter bid in an upset bid process.

Other board members said they want the property to be appraised first.

Enochville and an old school property on South Zion Street in Landis were also sent to the commissioners, but both those properties were tabled, citing possible growth in the southern Rowan County area.

Board attorney Ken Soo said the board could do as it pleases if it keeps the properties. First right of refusal applies to disposing of the properties, but the district could “land bank” the properties or demolish the buildings on them if desired.

Soo advised the board to avoid selling the properties without first offering them to the county.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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