Former Davidson School demolition on hold

The former John S. David­son School has another chance to be saved from the wrecking ball.

 

Plans to demolish the dilapidated building on Telfair Street were put on hold after renewed interest from potential buyers. Benton Starks, the senior director of facilities and services for the Rich­mond County school system, said negotiations are on the table but no formal offer has been made.

“If someone wants to buy it, of course, we are going to hold off tearing it down because obviously that’s a better fit for it,” Starks said.

The school system planned to raze the two-story brick
building, saying its poor condition and safety issues were a liability. The school was vacated in 1997.

Efforts to preserve the building were renewed more than three months ago when Historic Augusta offered to help market it for sale. At least two buyers have inquired about the property, Starks said.

“Until they actually pay for
it, it’s just interest,” he said.

The roof has caved in and the second floor has collapsed onto the first floor. A chain-link fence surrounds the property, and windows are boarded up.

Robyn Anderson, the preservation services director for Historic Augusta, said the organization received calls about the property after listing it on real estate Web sites for historic preservation. Those inquiries were forwarded to Starks.

The property could be refurbished into apartments or space for artists, Anderson said. No local buyers have expressed interest, she said.

Starks said bids were taken last week for tearing down two other surplus properties: A.C. Griggs and Forest Hills elementary schools.

A.C. Griggs is in disrepair, and demolishing Forest Hills will provide more green space and room to expand neighboring Langford Middle School, he said.

If approved by the school board in August, the buildings could come down in early October.

Starks said surplus properties are inspected monthly using manpower and money from the school system.

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THE BUILDING

The old Davidson school building at 1102 Telfair St. was constructed in 1933. The art moderne-style building was vacated in 1997 when Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School opened nearby. The 37,198-square-foot building has 29 classrooms and is on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Historic Augusta.

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