LAURINBURG — With no upset bids against Vineyard of Life Ministries for the purchase of Pate-Gardner School, the church will soon have the keys to the building.
The Scotland County school board voted Monday night to accept the church’s $50,000 bid to purchase the former Gibson elementary school.
Pate- Gardner ended its 64-year history last year as part of a consolidation plan that also closed Washington Park Elementary and assigned both schools’ students to Sycamore Lane, a former middle school. All county middle school students now attend either Carver in Laurel Hill or Spring Hill in Wagram.
Before Monday’s meeting, Jay Lucas, pastor for Vineyard of Life Ministries said his parishioners had talked about using the facility as church and ministry. The long-term goal is to build a drug rehabilitation center, said Lucas, who has worked in the mental health field for many years.
The church is also considering placing a food bank there.
“We want something’s that going to help people of Scotland County,” Lucas said. “I realize it is not going to be overnight.”
He added that the immediate plans are to clean the school and get it insured.
Prior to purchasing the school,Vineyard of Life Ministries members had been remodeling the current location on Main Street for the past several years.
“God plants churches in places where there are drugs, etc,” Lucas said. “Where ever God wants us to start. We are praying and we will go wherever God is going to lead us.”
In a related matter, the board also discussed how to handle Washington Park Elementary School that was also up for sale, but bids were too low, officials said.
After some discussion the board agreed to once again accept bids for the property but this time with no minimal bid. Even though there is not a minimal bids, offers can be rejected.
In other business, the school board discussed building a new school as part of the district’s consolidation plan.
Construction would not start until March 2017 with a projected completion date of August 2018.
“At what point do we have to have the support of the county to proceed with what we’re trying to do?” school board member Jamie Sutherland.
Sojka said under general statue, county commissioners would have to approve any new land purchase.
“All the way along the line, there are check points that require buy in from the county commissioners,” Sojka said.
The board gave school administrators the authority to move forward in seeking an architect for the project.
Also Monday, Superintendent Dr. Ron Hargrave asked for a moment of silence for the death of Elizabeth Dunbar, a former Scotland student who died Monday morning and for Marcus McCrimmon, a third-grade student at Sycamore Lane involved in a car accident over the weekend.
Hargrave said the third grader was flown to McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina.
“I will just ask at this time we have a moment of silence for both of these families as they are dealing with the tragedies in their lives right now,” he said.
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.