Charleston County School District begins negotiating with College of Charleston to sell piece of downtown Memminger Elementary
Charleston County school leaders plan to begin private negotiations with the College of Charleston about selling a piece of the downtown Memminger Elementary School campus.
The county school board signed off Monday on the district starting these talks rather than offering up the property publicly to the highest bidder, despite some board members’ protests.
“We’re supposed to be accountable and transparent to the taxpayer who we represent, and we are not the owners of school property,” said school board member Elizabeth Moffly. “We as a community own it together.”
School leaders say the law allows them to avoid the bid process and work directly with interested groups, especially when the transaction involves another public institution. Bill Lewis, the district’s chief operations officer, said the district is making a more than $20 million investment in the new Memminger Elementary School building that is adjacent to the property, and working with the college will help assure the land’s future use is compatible with the school.
“We felt it better to negotiate with them directly to control the outcome of what’s done,” he said.
The property being discussed involves two one story buildings that face Wentworth Street and had been used for CD and kindergarten classes. The 3,200 square-foot structures are between one of the college’s residence halls and Greek houses. District officials would not release the appraised value of the property.
The school’s new building, which is slated to be finished next summer, will incorporate those classrooms. In the meantime, they’re being used as storage space for construction.