By Bill Short
The Millington School Board voted unanimously this week to initiate acquisition of the Harvell
Civic Center if the Board of Mayor and Aldermen offers it. Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Chairman Cody Childress and seconded by Don Holsinger.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, expressed appreciation to City Manager Ed Haley for the “discussions” they had regarding the possible acquisition.
Roper said he will now begin a “process of analysis and decisions” about the “usefulness and functionality” of the specific buildings within the Civic Center. Then, he will “move forward” with more specific recommendations at a later date.
While recalling that he had a “conversation” with Haley several months ago, Holsinger noted that the city has not yet offered the facility to the school board.
“If we didn’t want it,” he said, “they didn’t want to offer it.”
Holsinger said it was best for the school board to decide whether the Civic Center is “something worth looking at” before Haley formally presents the proposal to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Then, the city board will have to determine whether it wants to make the offer. Board Vice Chairman Greg Ritter said there are “a couple of other things” to consider.
One is that the school board would be “acquiring land.” And under its agreement with Shelby County Schools, if the municipal school system ceased to exist in the future, control of the Civic Center would “probably revert” to SCS.
Ritter also wondered whether the city needs to know the school board’s plans before it actually makes a formal offer. Holsinger acknowledged that the school board has not yet determined whether it wants to use the entire facility, part of it or none at all.
Haley noted that the Civic Center is not being “used to its capabilities.”
“Looking at where it sits in relation to the school,” he said, “looking at the needs and hearing what Don and several others have talked about, it just makes sense to me to offer it to let you see what it would do to help you.”
If it would benefit the school system, Haley said he thinks the city board would “go along with that.”
While noting that the Civic Center is one of four buildings scheduled for re-roofing, he said the city did not want to “go in there” if part of it was not going to be used. He said the Personnel Department has been moved out, and the Maintenance Department soon will be. Because the city and the school system are currently making budget decisions for the upcoming fiscal year, Haley said the city board needs to know the school board’s plans as soon as possible.
“We’d like to get that information,” he acknowledged. “And if you’d let us know that, then I’ll be glad to carry that torch and try to move that thing along expeditiously with the board.”
Ritter said he thinks the school board needs to take that into consideration “sooner rather than later.”
“If these guys have plans,” he said, “we need to let them know, because there are three options we can do. I’m concerned that, depending on the option, it may affect what the city does.”
Roper noted that he does not want to “drag out” the specific decisions and leave them for “somewhere way down the road.”
Childress concluded that, if necessary, the school board can schedule a work session soon and “spend a couple of hours specifically on this.”