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Still No Definite on Future of Old McDonald School
by Ashley Murphy

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The first major discussion at Monday night's Bradley County Commission meeting revolved around a previous request by the McDonald Ruritan Club. The club requested that the commission extend the lease they currently hold over the buildings on the old McDonald School property and reimbursement of  $34,000. The Building and Land Committee came back with a recommendation to extend the land lease and all buildings on the land to a 99-year lease.

The Ruritan Club and the McDonald Community Center Board did not agree. They would like the two standing buildings and the gym, but they don't wish to have liability off the dilapidated old school building. If an agreement can be reached for those buildings alone, the Club and Board would be happy to negotiate further.

However, at this time, the commission did not agree to give the reimbursement amount back to the Ruritan Club, simply because there are no funds to do so. The idea of tearing the old building down to rid either party of liability isn't even an option right now due to funding. Commissioner Jim Smith suggested that the building be closed off and boarded up until something can be done with it. The big issue is the lead paint and asbestos, due to the building being so old. Boarding up the building could still pose major risks in terms of liability.

Commissioner Michael Plumley suggested that if the building were to be razed, the commission should consider selling off the bricks of the old McDonald School building. Considering its history in the County and how many people have passed through its halls, Plumley stated that several residents would possibly want a piece of the past. In addition, he added, it would make a great fundraiser to help pay for some of the site costs.

On the regular agenda was a request from the Bradley County Fire Board to revise their duties and responsibilities to include the board more thoroughly in the Fire Department's budgeting, policies, procedures, etc. After a lengthy discussion between the commission and County Attorney Joe Byrd, a motion to recommend the board work with Byrd on the revisions was passed.

The Bradley County Commission will meet again on  August 9th at Noon for a work session.