LFMS building returned to county for demolition

By KAITLIN GEBBY
Posted 2/19/20

Bradley County Schools has returned an unused building on the Lake Forest Middle School campus to county government for demolition following action by the county school board in a recent …

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LFMS building returned to county for demolition

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Bradley County Schools has returned an unused building on the Lake Forest Middle School campus to county government for demolition following action by the county school board in a recent session.

Building 7 is the last of several old buildings on LFMS property left over since the construction of a new academic building. With one restructure reclaimed by the school’s wrestling team, the rest have either been demolished or scheduled for demolition by the Bradley County Commission at the school board's request. 

Bradley County Schools originally asked county commissioners to demolish all of its remaining buildings at Lake Forest, including buildings 4, 7 and 8. The commission voted to take down buildings 4 and 8, but came back to the school board with Building 7, and the Building and Land Committee asked the school board to reconsider. 

Commissioner Dennis Epperson said it’s "sad" taxpayer money is being used to take down a structure built just 44 years ago, adding Building 7 would cost $400,000 to $800,000 if constructed today. 

"That is a really good building," Epperson said. 

Committee chair Charlotte Peak estimated $80,000 to $100,000 "or more" to make necessary roof repairs to Building 7. Alternatively, she said demolition would cost the county $48,000. 

Vice Chairman Thomas Crye said it’s “an eyesore,” adding, “It's our own fault it's sitting out there.” 

During a board session late last week, Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash explained the estimated value of replacing the building and said the committee has asked that the board reconsider and revote on whether they would like it to be removed. 

“This is a building we would not have kept if the county commission had not asked for it. It wouldn’t have been in our original request to have it removed,” Cash said. “Unless the board sees differently, I do not recommend at this time that the board maintain this building.” 

Board Chairman Troy Weathers recalled that the commission had considered using the building for archives and record storage before it realized it wasn’t suitable for it. 

“And I’m sure there were good reasons for that,” Weathers said. “I mean, if you remember, one of the worst problems we had at one of those buildings was mildew (and) moisture, constantly. I mean, for the last 20 years that I know for sure, there’s been lots of issues with the building. It's not a perfect building so to say it's — I don't know if I’d think it's worth $400,000 or $800,000, because it is not.” 

District 7 board member Jerry Frazier commented that “to replace a building that size would be $400,000, but to use that one would probably cost $200,000 to get it back to where it could be usable.” 

“And you’d still have problems,” Weathers added. “The only way to solve that problem is to knock it down.” 

The board unanimously voted to return Building 7 to the county, determining it did not have a reasonable use for the facility without serious investment for repairs. If the commission votes to demolish it, it will be at the county’s expense. 

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