Fort Mill Times

The old Fort Mill High School slated for demolition

By mid-August, the school district-owned building on Banks Street could be history.

On Tuesday Superintendent Chuck Epps recommended to the Fort Mill School Board demolishing the former school on Banks Street. The board is scheduled to vote on the matter at its June 18 meeting.

The Fort Mill School District has been in the process of moving all district programs and services out of the building and into the former district office on Elliott Street to save money on utilities. The cost savings to the district will be an estimated $225,000, officials have said.

Original plans were to sell the property with the building. However, officials recently determined the property will be more attractive to potential buyers if it’s vacant.

“What we’re finding is that because the building is so old, the land is worth more alone than (with) the building,” said Public Information Officer Kelly McKinney.

The building is old and has systems issues, school board Chairman Patrick White said. Operating costs are $250,000 a year, he said, not including maintenance costs, such as roof replacement.

“It’s outrageous,” he said. “No one is interested in that building. It’s just too costly to run the building.”

White said he feels confident the board will vote to accept bids for the demolition of the building at the June 18 meeting.

“We just feel like if we do demolition, then you’ve got a piece of land you’re marketing and anyone interested can make an appropriate bid,” White said.

With the cost of demolition, it’s likely that the district will make little or just break even on the sale of this property, White added.

“We won’t make a lot of money, but we won’t have to sit there with an empty building either,” White said. “We don’t think that’s what the community wants, a vacant, deteriorating building. It’s hazardous and bad for property values.”

After approval of a bid, demolition would take between 60 and 90 days. The cost for demolition is estimated at $400,000.

In recent years, the building, which opened in 1952, first served as Fort Mill High School before becoming Fort Mill Middle School. It has housed district operations and programs, as well as some community programs, including the Fort Mill Care Center.

The Fort Mill Care Center is in the process of finding a new home. If approved, demolition would include only the district-owned property, which includes the former school building and cafeteria, but does not include the former gymnasium, which is owned by Leroy Springs & Co.