MILTON — Community members of the Munson area are unhappy with the pending sale of Munson Elementary School.
The school, which closed operations in 2010, has since been sitting vacant and has been a drain on the financial resources on the Santa Rosa County School Board according to superintendant Tim Wyrosdick.
The board has for years tried to reach out to several entities including the Santa Rosa County Commission and the Black Water State Forest to take the properties. According to the school board both turned it down.
So the board made the decision to sell the property, holding a public auction for the purchase of the school. A public service announcement about the auction appeared in the Santa Rosa Press Gazette in the April 7, 14 and 21 editions.
Two interested parties placed bids at the auction. The district accepted $125 thousand bid, the higher of the two.
However, members of the community are dissatisfied with the offer, saying they knew nothing of the auction.
Resident Wes Gadits said the community always thought a state park would buy the property if it needed to be sold and said he had other hopes for its future.
“We would like to see it go back to the county commission,” he said. “They have a ball field that they take care of.”
Howard Gravis, a member of Springhill Baptist Church, said he had an interest in putting a Christian school on the property and wanted to know if the sale was final.
Wyrosdick said it was and said the board had tried to reach out to programs to take over the property before.
“We have bee approached by individuals several months ago expressing interest in purchasing the property," he said. “The board presented this idea and was charged with making a public notice of sale of the property.”
The board affirmed they advertised for the legal amount of time required by state law.
County commissioner Bob Cole requested that the board table the issue until the commission had a chance to revisit the issue as he was not aware of the notice of sale. He indicated that things were different in past years when the board approached the commission before and since that time there is a greater need for this property for a community center for the area.
The school board however denied holding the issue and voted unanimously to accept the bid and proceed with final negotiations for the sale of the school. Paul Green, attorney for the school board said there are some issues with the title that will have to be addressed prior to the final sale.