GRAYSON CO., TX – Sherman Independent School District made a deal with the Grayson County Government as a way to help both government entities. As the new SISD Administration Building nears completion, looming in the background was what to do with the old building. The District decided to give it to the County, but not everyone agreed with the agreement.
Building a brand new, bigger administration building was the final phase of Sherman’s $77 million dollar school bond passed back in 2005. The SISD Building will have more space for training and testing, better maintenance and bus housing facilities and meet the growing needs of the District.
"We're most pleased with the space that's been designed, it's an efficient building, energy efficient building as far as space efficiency,” said SISD Superintendent, Dr. Al Hambrick.
Monday night the Sherman School Board toured the new building as part of their meeting. After the tour members discussed what to do with the old building once it was cleared out.
"We felt like it would just not be a very good decision for it to sit idle and not be used, so it either needed to be used or taken down,” said Hambrick.
Tearing down the historic high school building would cost about $300,000. The building was appraised just over that, at $400,000.
So Hambrick and the other school board members felt the best option would be to give it to Grayson County, which needs more storage, office and maintenance space. With the jail expansion taking away the maintenance building and the elections office currently renting outside storage space, the county is looking to expand.
"We don't have to be as specific in our use as the Sherman Independent School District, that will allow us to renovate cheaper,” said Bynum.
Tuesday morning Commissioners voted four to one to accept the administration building at no cost. Sherman’s Mayor Bill Magers said at the meeting he thought it would be difficult to market the building for commercial use, and so also thought giving it to the county was a viable option.
But Commissioner Gene Short has concerns about the building’s age, and questioned why the county would want a building that the City of Sherman itself said wasn’t marketable.
"I think we need a professional evaluation of the building to tell us what condition the building is in. It's a 94 year old building, and it's going to be a very inefficient building,” said Short.
But Judge Drue Bynum and the other commissioners felt the money it would take on repairs is more practical than the cost of building a new facility to meet the county’s needs.
"We have the money in the bank to do some renovations, and renovations have come a long way as far as energy efficiency goes. Couple that with the price of the building, which is zero, and I think it's a perfect situation for the county,” said Bynum.
Bynum said this way tax payers don't end up paying for the old administration building's demolition, repairs or sale, because Sherman residents pay taxes to both the city and county.
"So this was a way that we felt like we could give back to the tax payer by making good use of the facility for the county government,” said Bynum.
The School District hopes to be moved into the new administration building by the end of the semester, in about two months. At that time they will begin helping Grayson County transition into the old building.