What will be fate of Shellhorn School?

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The future of the old Shellhorn School will be decided by the Pike County Board of Education, but only after the public has an opportunity to comment.

Pike County Superintendent of Education Dr. Mark Bazzell told the board of education Monday that the school building, located in northwest Pike County, has become a liability for the board and a decision must be made as to its future.

Shellhorn School was closed about 30 years ago and, for a short time, the building was used for storage. “But because of its location it was difficult to have any type of security,” Bazzell said. “We’ve tried everything. We’ve boarded it up, put in alarm systems and fenced it but nothing has stopped people from breaking in.”

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Bazzell said the immediate concern is that someone could get hurt in the vacant building. “People are going in and out of the building and some are camping out in there,” he said. “There is evidence that someone has built a campfire inside the building.”

Bazzell said the board has two options. One is to have the building demolished and the site cleaned.

“The other option is for the Meeksville Volunteer Fire Department to burn the building as a training exercise,” Bazzell said. “They have indicated that they would do that.

“But we don’t want to move forward with the demolition or burning of the building if there is any public interest in it.”

To allow time for public input, the Pike County Board of Education is going to wait 10 to 12 days before making a decision.

“We have to do something to reduce our liability and it needs to be done sooner rather than later,” Bazzell said. “There’s just no way we have found to keep people from going in the building and it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just where the building is located.”

The building is on 14 acres of rural land. Bazzell said the board is not in a hurry to sell the land and its options will be considered once the building is removed.

Anyone who has a comment about or interest in the Shellhorn School building is encouraged to contact Dr. Mark Bazzell at 334-566-1850.

The board’s agenda include new business and personnel considerations. In new business, the board:

• Approved bidding for one or more buses to replace buses that will be expiring from the fleet renewal program. Recommendations for purchases will be presented at a later date.

• Approved permission for Cheryl Watson to attend the Gear Up for Summer Training for site facilitators and team leaders July 25-26 in Phenix City.

• Approved permission for Julie Simmons to attend the 2016 MEGA Conference 10-15 in Mobile and permission to attend the 2016 CLAS Conference June 13-15 in Montgomery, retroactive.

• Approved permission for the Goshen High School volleyball team to attend the Wallace Hanceville Volleyball Camp July 25-27 in Hanceville.

• Approved permission for the GHS FFA officers to attend Chapter Officer Leadership Training at Rehobeth High School July 20 and further the training July 20-22 at Camp Butter and Egg in Troy.

In personnel action, the board:

• Accepted the resignation of Elena Ramona Pope, ELA teacher.

• Approved voluntary transfer request for Winter Sims to transfer from special education teacher at Pike County High School to physical education teacher at PCHS.

• Approved transfer request for Tracy Arnold to transfer from assistant principal at GES to interim principal at Pike County Elementary School, effective.

• Approved transfer request for Shantell Rouse from assistance principal at PCES to assistant principal at GES.

• Approved re-employment of Ronna Buckley, social studies teacher at Banks.

• Approved employment of Lindsey Longchamp, library media, GES.

• Approved employment of Amber Baggett, secretary, GES.

• Approved employment of Valerio Johnson, science teacher at GHS.

• Approved employment of Allison Bush, art teacher at GHS.

• Approved employment of Cynthia Donn, bus driver.

• Accepted employment of Walter Clark Boutwell, bus driver.