Discussion Over Ooltewah Elementary School Sale

Reported by: James Mahon
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Updated: 4/24/2014 7:12 pm
OOLTEWAH, TN, (WDEF)-"Its only worth what someone is willing to pay for it"

Rhonda Thurman say the school board needs the money.

"Like I said we would have liked to have got more for it but that's all that it looks like we can get for it at this time so I will vote to sell it"

Board members say the bidder, Benchmark Physical Therapy want to put their corporate offices on the site.

Some concerned residents and local realtors are wondering why this 10 acre site is being sold for just over 200,000 an acre, when similar sites in the area are being sold for three times that.

Dan Griess, Realtor,"In my opinion it seems to be a little undervalued, my question would be what kind of national exposure has this parcel had, we are right next door to it and there has never been a fore sale sign on it I don't know if that is a requirement"

Griess  says Ooltewah and Collegedale commercial property is more valuable now than it has been for years.

Dan Griess, Realtor,"A community where we are starting to see amenities that folks that live in this area would like to see and have new businesses, commercial ventures, hotels, grocery stores"

Other school board members say some prospective bidders might have been deterred due to demolition and clean up costs.

Mike Evatt, School Board Chairman,"Consideration the cost to demolish the building, the environmental concerns, asbestos floor tiles things like that cannot go to a landfill so you are going to have up wards of half a million dollars just to get the site ready"

Board members tell us the site was initially appraised at more than 4 million dollars.
     They added that there was an auction and it was advertised in local news papers, not at a national level and no one else came forward.

Dr Greg Martin, School Board District 3."An open bid, anybody could have bid on it, that it was publicized for a number of days, I believe 30 days"

All board members did say that the money used will be put into maintaining and repairing current schools and that the cash could also be put towards bringing technology in classrooms.
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