School leaders in Rock Hill say they will make a decision in coming weeks on the site of a new district office to be built for up to $6.5 million.
A divided Rock Hill school board voted Monday to sell the district office and 12-acre property at 660 N. Anderson Road for $2.7 million. In a second divided vote, the board agreed to spend up to $6.5 million to build a new office on district property.
The board discussed in a workshop earlier this month building a new office on about three acres the district owns on Orange Street, near the Central Child Development Center.
Deputy Superintendent Tony Cox said Tuesday that three other possible sites include a 24-acre district property adjacent to Rock Hill High and Independence Elementary schools; about eight acres next to the Applied Technology Center and the district operations center on S.C. 5; and the 22-acre Edgewood Center property, one block off Heckle Boulevard.
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“We are still in the process of analyzing the pros and cons of each property and we are going to make a selection very soon,” Cox said. He said a tentative timeline calls for the office to be complete in 15 to 18 months.
Cost said the Edgewood Center property, which until this summer housed the federal Head Start program, has been put on the market. Head Start moved to the Children’s School at Sylvia Circle building for the current school year.
School leaders have said the district property’s $2.7 million sale price would go toward the cost of a new office, as would the proceeds from the previous sale of an outparcel on the district property where a QuikTrip store has been built. Cox declined to discuss the amount of that sale, saying it was a legal contract.
Cox said the rest of the money for the new office would come from capital funds. He said it would not affect money from the 2015 bond approved by voters and would not affect the operating fund or increase property taxes.
Cox said a new, smaller office building designed with more efficient space could save the district about $130,00 a year in maintenance and utility costs, which could go toward the school operating budgget.
The current office, built in 1967 and occupied by the school district since 1992, is too large, with too much hallway and meeting space, and is not well suited for the modern digital office environment, Cox said.
Board chairman Jim Vining and members Jane Sharp and Ann Reid voted against selling the district office property; Vining and Sharp voted against building a new office.
Vining, who had said he was concerned the district was rushing into the project, said Tuesday he does not believe the district administration is seriously considering any location besides the Orange Street site.
Vining said the board is not required to approve the final location.
Vining said parking and traffic may be issues at the Orange Street site, located at the center of the school district. District leaders have said they would work with the city to close one block of Orange Street to create space for parking.
Cox declined to name the buyer of the Anderson Road property, saying it’s a business that is still in the process of notifying its employees. When the building is occupied by a new owner, he said, the property will generate property tax revenue for the school district and local governments.
Leaders have said the purchase offer came with a lease that would give the district 12 months to move out entirely; it would need to move out of a portion of the building in six months. Cox said some district offices would temporarily move to other locations, such as the district operations center.
Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077