School board approves sale of Enochville School building, but not without debate

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, August 9, 2022

SALISBURY — The Rowan Salisbury School Board approved the sale of the former Enochville Elementary School to Piedmont Baptist Church for $600,000, but not without some objection Monday.

The board had designated the property as surplus last January, and had the property appraised in 2021. At that time, the value of the property was deemed to be just over $2 million.

When the original upset bid was posted for the property, a bid came in for $500,000. According to the process of an upset bid, any subsequent bids would need to be at least 10% more than the previous. When the board advertised the first bid amount, the church placed a new bid of $600,000.

“I understand all that has gone on up until now,” said board member Alisha Byrd-Clark. “But I understand the tax value was, if memory serves, $2.1 million, and I am concerned that we are just giving away another building at that price.”

Board member Jean Kennedy agreed. “I thought we were going to see what we were offered, after we talked about the sale extensively,” she said.

“We can only get what someone is willing to pay for it,” said Travis Allen. “If we decline this offer, what we get next could be lower, meanwhile we have to maintain the property, or bear the cost of taking the building down. I don’t have an issue with the offer. In this economy, no one is a stranger to the property who might be interested.”

“I didn’t realize we were going to vote on this tonight,” said Dr. Lynn Marsh. “Given the price of housing and of land right now, I think there is no rush. I’d like to see if we might get more money. I mean, out where I am, the price of farm land right now is ridiculous.”

The property consists of 8.44 acres, and the offer of $600,000 represents $7,800 per acre, and it does not include the cost of tearing down the building, which the church would cover, as would any developer.

It cost the board between $330,000 and $400,000 to tear down the former Woodleaf school several years ago, and it was noted that would take a large chunk out of any profits a developer might see — a large enough chunk to make putting a development on such a small parcel financially illogical.

Chief Operating Office Anthony Vann said the board could choose to decline the officer and advertise again, perhaps on a national level, hoping to attract the attention of companies that constantly scan for properties for sale, but several board members pointed out that with all that has to be done to the property, they are less than hopeful that a larger offer will emerge.

“A bird in the hand,” said Allen.

The vote was called, with Board Chair Dean Hunter “abstaining for personal reasons,” and the offer was accepted by a 4-2 vote.

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