Bryan City Schools has agreed to sell the site of the former high school on South Portland Street to Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers.
The BCS board on Monday unanimously approved a recommendation from Superintendent Mark Rairaigh to sell the 5.9-acre site, at 150 S. Portman St., to CHWC for $500,000.
“This is a win for Bryan,” Rairaigh told the board prior to his recommendation, saluting the collaborative spirit between BCS and CHWC that enabled the sale to be completed.
The site‚ immediately south of CHWC, has sat vacant since the former high school building was demolished in February 2018. It’s currently appraised at $212,400, per county auditor’s records.
Rairaigh noted that it became apparent in pre-sale discussions that the missions and visions of both BCS and CHWC were similar: to help people, help the community and encourage prosperous opportunities for both organizations into the future.
Chad Tinkel, CHWC president and chief financial officer, lauded the work of a subcommittee that included himself, Rairaigh, BCS board members Scott Benedict and Deb Opdycke, and CHWC board members Bob Golding and Chris Kannel that paved the way for discussions to seal the sale of the site, located adjacent to CHWC.
“Those conversations helped foster a long-term commitment and collaboration by both parties (that) will help our community in many ways besides just this piece of property,” Tinkle said.
Tinkel said the acquisition will enable CHWC to expand and bring “new service(s)” to the community “and we hope to announce those in the coming year.”
BCS Treasurer Kevin Shafer said the $500,000 will go back into the BCS permanent improvements fund, which was the fund BCS used to purchase the site years ago.
The Bryan Times records show the Portland Street campus became a reality after Bryan voters approved bond issues of $950,000 in 1949 and $1.17 million in 1955. Ground was broken in August 1956 and the first classes were held in February 1958.
The building had a student capacity of 800-850 when originally built. It contained 35 classrooms and a gymnasium that could seat 3,000. Total cost of the building was $1.27 million.
The demolition of the Portland Street site and two elementary schools were part of a consolidation of students into a two-building campus that now consists of the elementary school (former junior high) on Center Street and the adjacent new high school/junior high on Fountain Grove Drive.
Lincoln Elementary, on East Butler Street, came down in December 2016, and the vacant lot was transferred from BCS to the City of Bryan. Washington Elementary, on Avenue A, came down in October of 2017 and the district has expressed no immediate plans for that site.