Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers plans to launch a task force to raise money from private donors to save the 123-year-old Bain school building from demolition.
Biggers and Town Manager Brian Welch recently met with organizers from the nonprofit Mint Hill Historical Society to discuss the idea, Biggers said. Mint Hill commissioners will discuss the matter during their Aug. 16 meeting.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is planning to demolish the building unless the Town of Mint Hill intervenes. The district would like an answer by the end of the year, Biggers said.
The about 7,500 square-foot building, constructed in 1889, has been condemned for more than seven years because of structural problems and is no longer safe to use. Recent studies also found asbestos and toxic levels of lead paint in samples taken from the building.
According to the studies, necessary structural improvements to the building are estimated at $250,000. Asbestos removal would cost about $3,500 and removing toxic levels of lead paint would cost an estimated $7 a square foot. Officials aren’t sure how many square feet of lead paint would need to be removed.
Biggers said he’s been told by historical society organizers that it would cost an estimated $500,000 to make the building safe. A complete overhaul restoration project could cost $1 million to $1.5 million, he said.
Biggers said he thinks the project is “too costly” for the town to do on its own.
“We just don’t have the funds to do that,” he said. “But if we can get some major commitments from area residents and businesses it can happen. But we need some kind of outside help.”