Richmond County schools halfway to property goal

Two old Richmond County school system properties have been sold; one has been leased; and three others, including the old John S. Davidson School on Telfair Street, remain on the market.


The system had hoped to earn as much as $1.5 million when it put the properties on the market last year. School board member Jack Padgett, who is a vice chairman on the board's building committee, said this week that the system has achieved nearly half of that goal.

Of the three properties with no current prospects -- valued at about $850,000 total -- the old Davidson School has the greatest potential, Mr. Padgett said.

"I'm seeing that Davidson property as being kind of a diamond in the rough," he said, noting how work on the Augusta Canal in that area makes the site more attractive to a would-be investor.

Recently, the Augusta Canal Authority asked the Richmond County school board for an easement of about an acre of land at the old Davidson site for a walking trail along the canal. The board agreed.

Mr. Padgett said the area also should become more marketable once a new judicial center and library open.

"It's the nicest piece of property we have for sale," Mr. Padgett said, but he noted it would still take someone with a "deep purse" and a good development idea to pull it off.

The school, built in the 1930s, has been appraised at $360,000, and although it has a sturdy brick construction, Mr. Padgett said roof repair could prove costly.

Mr. Padgett said the school system has sold two properties -- the Martha Lester School on Broad Street, circa 1930s, and the Floyd Graham School in Hephzibah, built in the 1940s -- totaling nearly $500,000.

He said Martha Lester sold soon after the bid process started a year ago. Floyd Graham sold about the same time to the city of Hephzibah, which plans to tear down the school and use the site as a parking lot for a city cemetery.

He said that about four months ago a church group agreed to a lease-to-purchase contract at the old Hornsby School on Sand Bar Ferry Road.

"They're using it as a church and wanted it for the classrooms and all," Mr. Padgett said.

The A.C. Griggs School on Grand Boulevard and the old Sue Reynolds School on Wrightsboro Road remain on the market.

"I've had two or three people look at it (A.C. Griggs) that would like to have it as a gift for a nonprofit for vocational ed to work in the community," Mr. Padgett said. "But there again, the requests on that have kind of gone by the side also."

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or



- Martha Lester School

- Floyd Graham School


- Old Hornsby School


- Old John S. Davidson School

- A.C. Griggs School

- Old Sue Reynolds School