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School Board votes to enter agreement with city for Civic Center acquisition

By Bill Short

Millington Schools logoThe Millington School Board voted unanimously this week to enter into an agreement with the city to acquire the Harvell Civic Center.

Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Chris Denson and seconded by Mark Coulter.

During discussion shortly before the vote, Chairman Cody Childress acknowledged that the board “had this on the table” last year but postponed it for “several different reasons.”
At its Feb. 1, 2016 meeting, the board voted unanimously to “initiate” acquisition of the Civic Center if the Board of Mayor and Aldermen offered it.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, thanked City Manager Ed Haley at that meeting for the discussions they had regarding the possible acquisition.
Haley noted that the Center had not been “used to its capabilities.” Citing the “needs” and where it “sits in relation to” Millington Central High School, he said it made sense to him to offer it and let the board determine how it would help.
Haley also said he thought the city board would “go along with that” if it would benefit the school system. But he noted that the mayor and aldermen needed 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.”
Roper said he would begin a “process of analysis and decisions” about the “usefulness and functionality” of the specific buildings within the Center and then “move forward” with more specific recommendations at a later date. He did not want to leave those decisions for “somewhere way down the road.”
But at the board’s April 4, 2016 meeting, the superintendent announced that the school system had decided to postpone its pursuit of the Civic Center acquisition until this year. He said the administration felt that would “allow for greater planning” by the organizations using it at that time.
While noting that the city officials had been “made aware” of that, Roper said they were “comfortable” with postponing that action until this year.
At Monday night’s meeting, the superintendent said the agreement is scheduled to be on the agenda for the city board’s March 13 meeting. But based on his discussions with city leaders, the “transition date” is expected to be April 1.
He said the school system will still be able to rent the facilities in the Center.
“We’re sensitive to the needs of those in the community who have been using those buildings,” Roper noted. “So, on April 1, we’re not going to say the buildings become ours and wave goodbye to you. That’s not how we operate.”
While calling the agreement a “win-win,” Childress said it “remains to be seen” what the board will do with the buildings.
But board member Larry Jackson said that, if Millington residents would like to have any items in them, such as stained-glass windows, they should get their names on a “list.”

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