Whitesburg KY
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Old school still in need of buyer after 10 years

The entrance to the old Whitesburg High School as it now appears. (Eagle photo)

The entrance to the old Whitesburg High School as it now appears. (Eagle photo)

A decade later the Letcher County Board of Education is still trying to sell the old Whitesburg High School campus.

After Fleming- Neon, Letcher and Whitesburg high schools consolidated into Letcher County Central High School during the 2004-2005 school year, the board agreed to put the Whitesburg and Fleming- Neon school buildings up for sale.

Eb Wright, of Neon, purchased the Fleming-Neon High School building for $ 62,000 in November of 2006, while the old WHS campus remains property of the school board.

“I’ve shown that high school to probably 25 people and can’t get any takers,” Letcher County Public Schools Supt. Tony Sergent told the board at its meeting Jan. 29. “I feel like a real estate agent.”

Sergent, who has been superintendent for a year and a half, said several people have told him that they have ideas of what to do with the property, but will need to apply for grant funding.

“They’ve got wishes and dreams,” said Sergent, who wants someone to buy the property, restore it and bring it back to its glory.

In December 2013, the board agreed to cut off electricity to all four buildings —English building, Science building, annex building and gymnasium —, which total 75,000 square feet. Prior to the board’s decision, the school district had spent about $45,000 each year in electric bills, Sergent said, in addition to fees associated with custodial services and maintenance.

The board is still paying nearly $ 29,000 yearly to insure the property.

In the fall, some of the buildings were vandalized. Broken windows in the gymnasium lobby were boarded in September. About a month before that, marijuana leaves, curse words and vulgar images were spray painted on walls in the library and other parts of the buildings.

Although the board had declared the WHS campus as surplus property 10 years ago when Anna Craft was superintendent, Will Smith is the only current board member who was on the board at that time. Sergent said he wanted the rest of the board to be included in the process. At the Jan. 29 board meeting, Smith along with Mendy Boggs, Robert Kiser, Lena Parsons and Erica Scott approved declaring the campus as surplus property and authorized Sergent to dispose of the property.

Sergent told the board that it might consider sealed bids or an auction.

Sergent is considering having the property reappraised as recommended by the Kentucky Department of Education.

Money obtained in the sale of the WHS campus could be used to purchase needed items such as textbooks and new buses, Sergent said.

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