Hawkins awaits EPA clearance to sell old bus shop

Jeff Bobo • May 6, 2007 at 10:15 AM

ROGERSVILLE - The old Hawkins County Schools bus shop property in Rogersville is no longer for sale, at least until it gets a clean bill of health from the Tennessee Environmental Protection Agency.

During a special called Board of Education meeting held April 26, Director of Schools Clayton Armstrong opened a sealed bid of $211,000 for the purchase of the property.

That's well below the $300,000 appraisal for the 2.9 acre lot located on Main Street across from Hawkins Elementary School.

The Board of Education had already set its minimum bid for the property at $299,000.

But that didn't stop bargain hunters from submitting three bids - $200,000 and $209,000, which were opened in February, and the $211,000 bid opened April 26.

Upon hearing the figure, board Chairman Robert Stidham reacted by shaking his head no.

"That's just not enough money," Stidham said. "That thing is valued at $300,000."

Stidham added, "Let's take her off (the market) until we get a clean bill of health. Then put her back on and we'll take more bids. Everybody will know then when they're bidding on it that it's ready to go."

The "clean bill of health" refers to clearance of the property from the Tennessee Environmental Protection Agency.

Buildings Supervisor Jim Hageman explained to the board April 26 that samples taken from throughout the property showed that some soil inside the old shop building is contaminated with oil and will have to be removed and replaced with fill.

School officials assume the oil seeped through cracks in the floor as a result of routine maintenance on school buses over the years.

"We're waiting right now for permission to take it (the contaminated soil) to BFI, but BFI has to run their tests on the soil that has to come out," Hageman said.

Armstrong told the board that until soil is removed, the state EPA won't give the property environmental clearance, which would remove the school system from any future liability for the property.

Soil samples showed no other contamination on the property other than the oil inside the building, Armstrong added.

Final EPA clearance of the property is expected to occur this month.

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