The Franklin County Schools board approved the purchase of the property at 652 Chamberlin Ave. for the district's new central office at a special called meeting Wednesday. (Photo via Gibson Company website)

The Franklin County Schools board heard about major problems at the district’s central office during its last meeting.

On Monday, leaders heard about one option available to the district.

Superintendent Mark Kopp told the board a team from the central office looked at a building for sale on Chamberlin Avenue.

Kopp said the team had previously looked at a building at Hudson Hollow, but that structure would need some work.

“It was really surprising how good the condition was,” Kopp said of the Chamberlin property. “The price was a little less than the Hudson Hollow lease price, but in speaking with the Realtor they are very much inclined to sell this building. From my perspective as superintendent, trying to make a long-term decision, buying a building is a much better decision than leasing one.”

At its March 24 meeting, the board was told the exterior perimeter of Building 300 at the central office had allowed water to penetrate, causing wood rot, including some to the point there are pieces of structural wood that no longer exist.

Several offices had to be vacated in the building, which also needs a new roof.

There has also been considerable rot around windows that have been replaced.

Kopp said repair estimates ran from a low end of $600,000 to a high end of $800,000, and that didn’t include a new roof or windows.

If that work is added, the repair costs could potentially be over $1 million.

Kopp said the availability of the property at 652 Chamberlin Avenue became known last week.

“What would be attractive about the asking price is we can even negotiate that a little bit,” he told the board. “The thing that makes this building attractive is it’s a large building we can only use half of for now.

“The other half is actually being leased out by another company. That other half brings in $240,000 a year in rental income. As long as that company has that lease, that income will still be coming in to us.”

The listing price for the property is $3.4 million and it’s listed with the Gibson Company. It was built in 2001 and has 50,350 square feet, selling for $7.68 per square foot.

The current central office consists of three buildings, and the property on Chamberlin Avenue would allow the entire central office staff to be located in one building.

“After looking at different options, including buildings to lease, there are very few buildings to purchase in town right now for office space, but I think we may have found a pretty decent option,” Kopp said.

“If we had to pay asking price at the current rate today, it would be about $240,000 a year. So, in essence, this is a chance to purchase a building at zero net loss as long as the other side is being rented.”

Kopp said there would be a special-called meeting to discuss the Chamberlin property as well as what the options are for the current central office.

Kopp thanked the Kentucky Department of Education for providing offices for the district and to John Sanders, principal of the Franklin County Career and Technical Center, for letting the board meeting take place at the school.

The board approved athletic improvement projects at Western Hills and Franklin County at Monday’s meeting.

The project at WHHS is replacing landing pits for field events at the track, and for FCHS it’s a new concession stand at Benny Watkins Field.

The timeline given for the projects was to start at WHHS on May 9 and at FCHS to start in early June after the graduation ceremony at the football field. The projected completion date for the concession stand is Aug. 5.

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