MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools is now the owner of the old Bayer building on Jackson Avenue in North Memphis and plans on moving its personnel and services under one roof.
Tuesday night, board members voted to buy the building. The $6.6 million purchase went through on Wednesday.
SCS officials plan to fix up the campus and make it their headquarters. They’ll move personnel and services into one spot, instead of the 11 buildings they currently occupy across the city.
Board member Stephanie Love says the move won’t happen overnight.
“I think it’s only right for all of our parents to be able to come to one centralized location to receive any type of services that they need,” she said.
District officials will spend the next two to three years fixing it up.
“I did request that community input be involved,” Love said.
SCS officials say they got a deal on the building and believe this move is a lot cheaper than building a facility.
They believe the consolidation will save nearly $5 million a year in operational costs, and also gets them out of spending $44 million in maintenance issues needed in their current buildings.
The district even did a cost analysis showing the new building will cost $69 million over the next 10 years, compared to $103 million if they continue to operate as is.
“I think once we actually consolidate and really see exactly what we’re working with, we will actually save more money. There are buildings we may sell. There are buildings we may keep,” said Love.
No one with the district agreed to an interview.
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson took to twitter, saying, in part, he was “excited about the decision to purchase a new SCS campus.”
SCS officials released a statement to WREG saying:
The District has made a number of strategic decisions in recent years to be more efficient and increase available resources for schools, and the possibility of consolidating some of our administrative facilities into one campus helps us address approximately $44 million in deferred maintenance. We’re hopeful this relocation can also positively impact the city’s ongoing revitalization efforts. We are very early in the process, and we intend to be very deliberate and structured with every phase of this project. Our immediate next step is to formulate a comprehensive plan that includes input from employees and families for the Board to review in the weeks ahead.
WREG learned there may have been some contaminants found in the building during inspection, but Bayer made an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to remove it all.
It’s unclear what those contaminants are.