In what could lead to the latest multimillion-dollar property deal for the city, North Charleston’s mayor has expressed interest in buying the Northwood Academy campus on Otranto Road.
The city is in the process of having the property appraised.
Mayor Keith Summey said the school, which previously announced plans to relocate to Carnes Crossroads in Goose Creek, could potentially become the site of a city center for seniors, arts programs and a new fire station.
“They have recreation fields, a gymnasium, a cafeteria,” said Summey, who suggested that a swimming pool could be built inside one of the five buildings on the 19-acre property.
No offers have been made, and a school official said any discussion would be premature, but Summey said the property is for sale and the city is determining what it’s worth.
“I don’t see that it’s a good market to sell a school, so it would probably help them to finish their relocation,” he said.
The private kindergarten-through-12th-grade Northwood Academy is controlled by Northwood Assembly, a non-denominational Christian church that established a location at Carnes Crossroads two years ago, and has long-standing plans to relocate the school.
In 2007, The Daniel Island Co. donated 60 acres of land at the Carnes Crossroads development for the church and school, the year after a fire destroyed Northwood Assembly’s main sanctuary building in North Charleston.
Summey said that if the city decides to pursue the Northwood Academy property, he expects that there would be an agreement to transfer the site after it’s no longer needed by the school.
Larry Evanoff, Northwood Academy’s director of schools, declined to discuss the school’s planned relocation or the city’s interest in the property.
“We have no definitive plans right now, and it would be premature to discuss,” he said in an email.
Summey has discussed the idea publicly with City Council.
“It would give us an opportunity to have a nice recreational area up there,” he told council members on July 18.
Summey said North Charleston already has about $4 million budgeted for a new fire station and a senior center in that northeast corner of the city. He estimated that $5 million might be a fair price for the school property.
Councilman Bobby Jameson represents the area, and said that while he doesn’t have any details, looking at Northwood Academy sounds like a good idea.
“We don’t have anything for seniors,” he said. “And we need to relocate Fire Station No. 6, because it’s difficult for the ladder truck to get in and out.”
Summey said the city likes to put senior centers near fire stations, because the firefighters are all getting certified as emergency medical technicians.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.