By P.J. Tracy
The Delight Town Council voted unanimously to accept the entire former school campus from the South Pike County School District (SPCSD) at their meeting on Monday night.
SPCSD Superintendent Brad Sullivan was on hand at the meeting to present the offer on behalf of the school board. He said it was the board’s will — as well as his — to give the campus, which was paid for by local taxes, to the city so it can continue to benefit the community, especially the gymnasium and cafeteria.
The only stipulations were that SPCSD would ask for the use of a room in the Hendrix building for storage (due to its ease of access with a truck) as well as the bus garage for a period of two years, with a negotiable future if necessary. It was stated that people were prospectively in line to rent some of the buildings, including the Hendrix building.
Sullivan said that all plans were malleable, and that the district expected to install more storage on the Murfreesboro campus as soon as next year. In the meantime he would be open to other suggestions for storage as the city saw fit. While he noted that some items had been taken that would have a use on the Murfreesboro campus, the buildings would not be stripped down including fixtures. He did note that a pair of fuel tanks (1,500 and 1,000 gallon) would be taken from the bus garage for use in Murfreesboro, as well as the former walk-in-freezer that would located outside the cafeteria as well as a icemaker.
However, Sullivan said that much of the cafeteria inventory remained intact, including stoves, a deep fryer, mixer and pots and pans. Additionally, the trophies will remain in the gymnasium. “The board didn’t want to strip the school, including window A/C units and fixtures. We only took what could help the students at Murfreesboro.”
Though original plans had the district removing the two-year-old A/C unit from the cafeteria, which is valued at around $15,000, it was decided that it was better left for use in Delight if the city wished to purchase it for $5,000. “We identified the need for it at the cafeteria, and didn’t want to cause issues,” Sullivan told the board.
The board agreed, with a multitude of community functions being held at the facility.
The agreement does give SPCSD the first right of purchase should anything be sold from the campus after the transaction. The board did question the fact that SPCSD would have access to the facility while losing all liability.
Sullivan said that one final act — the removal of the pavilion — would be handled by the school district.
Boardmember Chris Goodson asked Sullivan if all keys had been turned in, as he says he has seen people taking things from the campus that were not current teachers.
“I don’t think it is right, and we need to have the locks changed or chains installed as we do a complete inventory [after the transfer],” he said.
Sullivan admitted that keys could be out there in the community.
The SPCSD would ratify the agreement at their meeting on Tuesday night and then would be ready to make the other logistics — including a quitclaim deed with full legal description of the entire breadth of property — happen later this week to place Delight in control of the property.
The council asked Sullivan if any rumors of major roof disrepair were true, and he said it was not to his knowledge.
“If a roof is so badly damaged that it costs $30-$40 thousand dollars to fix it would be an issue for us,” said boardmember Randy Abbott.
Resident Harvey Edge, who admitted he was an old man, noted that he took his first steps on campus said that “I don’t feel Murfreesboro has the right to tell us what to do with the buildings and to take things to Murfreesboro that [the community of Delight] bought. I’m old school, and I still blame half of Delight for sending their kids to Murfreesboro to play football or be in the band. If not for that, we’d still be educating kids here.”
Sullivan said that he understood that sentiment perfectly, but that in his three years as Superintendent his charge was take care of the students of the district. “To do that, we can’t look back to the past, but move forward for the good of the kids and their futures and do what is best for now,” Sullivan stated.
In addition to voting to take control of the campus, the board also voted unanimously to pay $5,000 for the A/C unit at the cafeteria. “We’ll still have to iron out the quitclaim description, but for all practical purposes, after Tuesday night it will be yours,” Sullivan said. “As far as I am concerned you can leave with the keys.”
Mayor Paul Lane was set to attend the SPCSD meeting Tuesday night to sign the necessary paperwork.
“This is the right thing to do, in my opinion, going forward and I wish the very best for the Delight community,” Sullivan said in closing. “It’s all about the kids for their future.”
Edge couldn’t resist giving one more passing shot in humorous fashion to Sullivan before he left.
“If we still had the school, we’d still be beating you in basketball,” he said.
After Sullivan had left, Lane said there were still a few loose ends, such as seeing what deal the CADC headstart, which is housed on campus, had with the SPCSD. Also, any potential renters would have to wait until the “deal was complete.” Expenses at the Pickett building were presented to the council, with Lane noting they were “making a little money.”
From November 2020-October 2021 utility expenses for the Pickett building and Agri shop — where the water department is now housed — was $6,401.79. The revenue from rent collected for the same time period was $8,000.
It was noted that current renters at the Pickett building would like have first shot at other potential locations on campus, but that likely all current buildings would not be available.
“We [probably] can’t keep all the buildings running,” said Lane. “Especially in the winter, when utilities will be at their highest. I saw on the news that the cost of natural gas was likely to rise 43% this year. Additionally, we don’t know what is safe, so we have a lot to look forward to before it’s all said and done.”