Groups opt to lease vacant schools

Published 10:04 am Thursday, October 8, 2009

JACKSON — Plans for two elementary schools are already waiting in the wings as the Northampton County Board of Education has declared the two vacant buildings surplus properties.

On Monday evening at their regular meeting, board members voted unanimously to declare Rich Square W.S. Creecy Elementary School and Garysburg Elementary School surplus properties. The decision comes in response to two proposals submitted to the board that detail plans to lease the properties to two different entities—Creek Development Corporation and the town of Garysburg.

Creek Development Corporation, a non-profit organization of Second Baptist Creeksville Church based near Murfreesboro, proposes to utilize Rich Square Creecy for 10 years in order to house a variety of educational, recreational and business purposes.

The plan states the ultimate goal for the non-profit is to place a vocational program within the former school.

“Trade based curriculums are very much needed in Northampton County,” the proposal states. “This building will provide us space for the classroom and the ability to execute practicum to enhance knowledge of all involved by utilizing other areas to carry out what has been learn in the classroom.”

The program would also include a GED component to run simultaneously with the acquisition of a trade, including those in the health, automotive, technology, human services and other fields.

“Our goal would be to partner with community colleges, specifically Roanoke Chowan Community College,” said the plan.

Other aspects of the proposal include immediately introducing recreational programs for youth and adults and providing a place for summer camps and youth clubs. The plan has a niche for healthy living with workshops and screenings. Senior enhancement programs would also be applied with games and daycare. Plans for a child care center, a food program for children, a business incubator and a satellite site for the Northampton County Library is also listed in the plan.

Officials from the town of Garysburg have also submitted a similar 10-year lease plan to use the former Garysburg Elementary School building.

Plans for that facility include recreational uses for both indoor and outdoor activities, a library, health clinic, emergency shelter, small business incubator and a senior citizen’s center.

Both plans assure the parties would take care of the grounds and utilities and include a “opt out” clause for either party. The Creek Development Corporation states the non-profit would be responsible for obtaining liability insurance.

The rental rate for each lease plan is not known. Creek Development Corporation said in its plan the rental rate will be renegotiable after one year, while the town of Garysburg’s rate would be renegotiable after five.

According to the board’s decision paper, after consideration of different proposals, the Facilities Committee recommended leasing the properties to Creek Development Corporation and the town of Garysburg.

The committee further recommended authorizing Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy and Tharrington & Smith, the board’s legal council, to work through details of the lease agreements.

The finalized lease agreements would then be brought before the Board of Education for a decision.

In the meantime, advertising of the surplus properties will be properties in accordance to law.