Kingsport BOE recommends buying lot, donating another

Rick Wagner • Jul 10, 2013 at 9:17 PM

KINGSPORT — The difference between giving up city school property as surplus and acquiring more property can be summed up in those three magic real estate words: location, location and location.

The Kingsport Board of Education voted 4-0 with one absent at its regular Tuesday meeting to recommend the purchase of the house and lot at 1713 Park St. for $65,000.

At the same meeting, however, it voted to deem another piece of property it once controlled nearby as surplus, paving the way for its possible sale by the city.

The property to be purchased is adjacent to Indian Highland Park and next to a former church the school system also owns and uses for storage.

Dr. Randall Montgomery, BOE president, and BOE member Betsy Cooper asked Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lyle Ailshie to come up with a long-term plan for that property and others the school system may purchase in that area for the benefit of the BOE, the neighborhood and the community.

Ailshie said the frame house likely will be torn down, as was another house on the other side of the church, and used for parking for the immediate future. The park includes soccer fields and has been used for Dobyns-Bennett High School band practice.

But Montgomery and Cooper asked for more of an informal master plan for the area, similar to the plan envisioned for the now-expanded parking behind Jefferson Elementary and the slow but steady conversion of Stadium Court houses to school system use decades ago.

At the other end of the spectrum, but ironically in the same area of town near D-B, the board voted to turn over .32 of an acre, or 13,925 square feet of parking, to the city as surplus property of the school system.

The land is adjoining the Midland Center, which the city is using for an employee clinic, and Frontier Health has been using it for parking and wants to purchase it.

The board discussed another .136 acres the Tosh Gilbert Partnership wants to buy but took no action on that property, which is mostly grassed now but could serve as parking for a dental office nearby.

All told, the two parcels if sold would cut the Midland real estate from 3.019 acres to 2.563 acres.

Ailshie said city officials have indicated proceeds from the property sale or sales will go to the school system. Montgomery said the board soon may declare that it has no use for any of the property, which is just off Fort Henry Drive.

The forthcoming DB 2.0, a long-term look at the needs for the high school campus and buildings in the long term, likely will not include anything of the Midland property, Ailshie said.

However, the school system still uses the Palmer Center on the Midland side of Fort Henry Drive.

To read a letter about the Park Street property purchase to the BOE from school system Finance Director David Frye, go to http://kingsport.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/940474/File/BOE%20Meeting%20Notes/2013%20Supporting%20Documents/7-9%201713%20Park%20St%20Purchase.pdf.

For an aerial view of the Midland Center property in question, go to http://kingsport.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/940474/File/BOE%20Meeting%20Notes/2013%20Supporting%20Documents/7-9%20Midland%20Center%20Proposed%20Area%20to%20Frontier%20Health%207-9-13.pdf.

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