By Joel Phelps
The Arkadelphia Board of Education learned Tuesday that the Central Primary School was appraised for $1.29 million and has had one offer on the building so far. The district has received one undisclosed bid on the property.
The bid would include the purchase of both the buildings on it as well as the lot they sit on, which includes an entire city block adjacent to Pine Street/Highway 8.
Noting the condition of the 90-year-old building, which once housed Arkadelphia High School until the ‘70s, board member Gina White inquired whether the appraisal was based off of square footage. Superintendent Karla Neathery said the appraisal included 56 pages of documentation.
White wanted to know whether its condition discounted the price. Jimmy King, director of support services, responded that he was certain there was a discount based on its condition but wasn’t sure about all the appraisal’s details. Responding to another question from White, King said he felt most of the total value was based on the property rather than the building itself, as the building surpassed its life expectancy four decades ago in terms of being a school building.
Board member Blake Bell had much to say about moving forward without the campus. “It’s a valuable piece of property,” he said. “It’s an entire city block on a state highway, half a block away from another state highway. … We’re going to get a lot of questions from constituents about preserving that building. We don’t have it in our means to do that. It’s not something that we want to do as far as tearing down a historical building, we just don’t have the means to preserve it, and we have no use for it anymore. We’ve moved on.”
Board president Casey Motl entertained the notion of the district demolishing the building and selling the lot, given that the cost of demolition and asbestos abatement were affordable for the district. “I would be interested in the value of what it would take to take Central down,” Motl said. “If it were reasonable, maybe we could be the ones to raze it and sell the unimproved lot.”
School district attorney Ed McCorkle is expected to review the real estate documents and discuss them at the next board meeting, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Goza Middle School.