Sullivan County Board of Education Attorney Pat Hull told the school board last week that the Weaver saga might resolve soon and meet the expectations and hopes of all involved in the sale of the property along Weaver Pike in eastern Sullivan County.
In a nutshell, Hull said that all buyers affected have agreed to make an old fence line the boundary between the property the school system sold and the land owned by private landowners Earl and Brenda Pearce. Earl Pearce firmly believes the fence line was the property line. Hull said the land in question was steep and not of much use except as a buffer.
“It’s really unusable no matter who owns it,” Hull said at the board’s Sept. 6 work session.
“Once they get that resolved, we’ll get it sold. Hopefully the end is in sight.”
PROPERTY SOLD IN FOUR-WAY SPLIT
The school board has already agreed to sell the property by splitting it four ways: two smaller parcels to private property owners of adjoining residential lots, which has already been transferred; a section without buildings pending to the Weaver Cemetery Association; and the pending sale of the building and land around it to a California-based sourdough bread maker identified as A&B Holdings LLC.
The land hadn’t been surveyed in modern times, with one deed going back 200 years, and the new survey using a metal pin put the property boundary closer to the private owner than he thought.
The new building owner after the sale was approved by the board talked about putting an assisted living facility on part of the land in addition to a bakery. Board Chairman Michael Hughes asked that the potential additional use, which would require rezoning like the bakery would, and the boundary issue be brought before the board, which based on that information delayed the final issuance of a quit claim deed. Hughes said he thought the fence would be made the boundary.
A quit claim deed simply conveys any interest the school system might have in the property but does not guarantee what exactly that interest is. However, Hull said all affected parties agreed to that and have agreed to the slight boundary revision and no further action was needed by the school board. The board closed Weaver in May of 2017 because of structural issues in a 1950s addition an engineer said was unsafe.
MORE SURPLUS SCHOOL SITES TO COME
Weaver is the first of a series of school facilities expected to be declared surplus in coming years.
Once Sullivan East Middle School opens in the fall of 2019 and West Ridge High School opens in 2020, plans are that the school system will have the following buildings with no students in them: Colonial Heights Middle and the middle school portion of Sullivan Gardens K-8 in the Sullivan South High zone; Blountville Middle in the Sullivan Central High zone; Bluff City Middle, Holston Valley Middle and the middle school portion of Mary Hughes School, a K-8 facility, in the East zone.
Central High is to become a middle school to take in Holston Middle, Blountville Middle and Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, while South High is to become a middle school housing Colonial Heights and Sullivan students.
North High, already paid for by Kingsport, is to be transferred to the city for use as a middle school, while the new West Ridge High will take in all North, South and most or all Central students. Some Central students may be shifted to Sullivan East, depending on the county’s high school enrollment in 2020.
In the East High zone, the new Sullivan East Middle will take in students from Bluff City Middle, Mary Hughes and Holston Valley.
Plans are not to close any more elementary schools, although some opponents of the school building program have predicted that would occur. At one time Indian Springs Elementary was talked about for possible closure and moving to the Holston Elementary/Middle campus near the airport, and some county commissioners have talked about closing Blountville Elementary and moving those students to the Holston Elementary/Middle campus alongside Holston Elementary students. One option discussed a few years ago had been moving central office to the Holston complex.