Uncertain future for Pike building

Surry County Facilities Director Don Mitchell answers the questions of County Commissioners at Monday evening’s Board of Commissioners meeting.

DOBSON — At Monday night’s meeting of the Surry County Board of Commissioners, Facilities Manager Don Mitchell conveyed a $175,000 offer for the purchase of the county’s Pike Building at 351 Riverside Drive in Mount Airy to commissioners.

While commissioners haven’t ruled out the offer, they are considering turning the property over to the Mount Airy City Schools.

According to Facilities Director Don Mitchell the 22,000 sq. ft. building has been vacant for about four years. Prior to that the county had leased the building to Crossroads Mental Health.

Mitchell said he has brought one other offer for the purchase of the property to commissioners. However, commissioners chose not to accept the earlier $125,000 offer for the property. Additionally, Mitchell said a $152,000 offer for the building was received. However, that offer didn’t make it before the Board of Commissioners prior to his receiving the $175,000 bid.

When Mitchell brought the latest offer before commissioners at Monday’s meeting, the offer prompted Commissioner Eddie Harris to recommend the possibility of turning the property over to the Mount Airy Schools. Harris pointed to inadequacies at the district’s central office, saying that the Riverside Drive property could possibly better meet the needs of the school system.

Harris’ concerns about the current Mount Airy Schools’ central office building aren’t unfounded. A recent facilities study pointed to $325,000 in necessary improvements to the current central office building. Additionally, the Pike building would more than double the space from which the Mount Airy City Schools run their operations.

Mitchell said that the possibility of turning the Pike building over to the school system is a recent development. According to Mitchell school officials looked at the building in recent weeks, and displayed some level of interest in utilizing the vacant building.

Following the suggestion of Harris, Board of Commissioners Chairman R.F. “Buck” Golding pointed out that if the building were to be handed over to the schools, the county would have to fund the renovation of the building. According to conversations between the commissioners Monday night, estimates for “gutting” the building were around $65,000.

Though County Attorney Ed Woltz told commissioners that the $175,000 offer was “somewhat time-sensitive” the board chose to let the offer sit until the board’s next meeting and instructed County Manager Chris Knopf to contact Mount Airy Schools officials with the proposal.

If the board eventually chooses to accept the offer Mitchell said an ad would be placed in the paper for ten days. During that period prospective buyers could submit “upset” offers.