Prospective buyer emerges for Sunbury School

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011

GATESVILLE – After years of effort, the historic Sunbury School may find itself under new ownership.

Following a closed session at their July 6 meeting, the Gates County Board of Commissioners appointed Chairman Graham Twine, Commissioner Henry Jordan and County Manager Toby Chappell to comprise a negotiating team for the sale of the school property, excluding the gym.

“A prospective buyer has come forward and made an offer on the property,” Chappell said.

Chappell added that the identity of the buyer and their intended use for the property will made public upon the execution of contract with the county.

The decision of what to do with the old school has been the subject of debate for years. Meanwhile, the school building is deteriorating.

In October of last year, the commissioners agreed to allow Claudia Deviney, Director of the Northeast Regional Office for Preservation North Carolina, market the property. One month later the board agreed to an asking price of $75,000.

It was at that November meeting that Jordan noted the property tax assessment for the old Sunbury School, saying the land alone was valued at $50,000 (for the 6.74 acres the school is located on); $37,000 for the old parsonage property and $21,000 for the old Women’s Club property….all a part of the school and part of the marketing package.

While that total exceeded the $75,000 asking price, Pitt Godwin, who serves as legal counsel to the board, stressed that whoever purchases the property will face a significant investment to make repairs (following Preservation North Carolina guidelines).

“That needs to be taken into consideration,” Godwin said of the repairs needed at the school.

It was also noted that the school gym, currently owned by the county for use as a public recreational facility, is not being offered for sale.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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