Midland Center reverts to Kingsport as school system declares it surplus

Rick Wagner • Aug 2, 2013 at 10:01 PM

KINGSPORT — The Midland Center and the plot upon which it sits are no longer associated with the city school system.

The Kingsport Board of Education Thursday night voted to declare the building surplus, meaning it goes back to the city that already is operating an employee clinic in part of the building.

Although located off Fort Henry Drive across from Dobyns-Bennett High School, school board member and immediate past President Randy Montgomery said there were too many safety concerns with students crossing Fort Henry Drive to make the center a viable site for any student programs.

Also, he said that Frontier Health and other businesses in the vicinity have expressed interest in another part of the property for parking and potentially other uses.

BOE President Carrie Upshaw said it will feel odd not discussing Midland every few months.

Kingsport City Schools quit using the building shortly after the new Administrative Support Center or central office opened in the old Kingsport Press property at the corner of Press and Clinchfield streets downtown.

In answering a question from board members, Kingsport City Schools Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said that he is still checking with city officials to see if there’s any chance of getting money for the school system or other consideration since the city may sell part of the Midland property.

Montgomery pointed out the school system spent at least $250,000 fixing up the building after Sullivan County ceased using it for the Regional Health Department.

The BOE’s vote means the city can use or dispose of the property as it sees fit. The BOE has previously voted to allow the city to put the clinic in the building. If the school system goes to a self-insured health insurance program, a proposal the board has voted to pursue, school system employees may be able to use the employee clinic.

In other action, KCS Director of Facilities David Carper gave the BOE an update on summer school facilities upgrades.

Those include resurfacing of the tennis courts and replacing stadium lighting, both at D-B and both completed, although he said some minor marks may have been left on one of the courts from Fun Fest fireworks.

Projects still under way include a walk-in cooler and freezer at Johnson Elementary, a walk-in cooler and freezer and loading dock at Lincoln Elementary, and a new secure entrance for Jackson Elementary.

But Carper said those schools will open on time and function fine even with some work left.

Also under way is the Robinson Middle parking lot renovation and resurfacing, which Carper said he hopes will be done earlier than mid-September if the weather allows. “Blue muck” dirt under the lot required excavation and fill that had not been anticipated in the project plans, and rain also has slowed the work.

The school has contingency plans to operate through mid-September without the parking lot, but parking and access around Robinson will be tight until the lot is in use again.

Finally, the renovation of the old American Legion building at D-B into ROTC space should be done by or shortly after Aug. 31, Carper said, with the program slated to move over the fall break.

The board also declared nine computers recently replaced in the ASC training lab as surplus and they will be turned over to the city to be donated to Friends and Neighbors and the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority for use in a community learning facility.

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