Texas Bible college gets Connelly building

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Bible college based in Texas is the new owner of the old Connelly School building and the building lots behind it after an auction held last Friday.

Bob Bugg, the auctioneer, said he had been talking on the phone for two weeks with representatives of the college after they found the old school on the Bob Parks Auction Web site.

Bidding over the phone, against three or four other potential buyers, the Bible college got the school for $21,000, and the four building lots for $3,250 each.

Tribune photo by Karen Hall Bidders and spectators enjoy the spring sunshine during the auction of the old school building. In the doorway, from left, are local real estate agents Matt and Grover Collins, and Jason and David Jent.

"They spent hours and miles looking for something like this," Bugg reported.

The auction company said it can't reveal the name of the college until the sale closes, expected to be sometime in the next 30 days.

The Bible college had also talked to Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips and Codes Enforcement Officer Greg Lowe.

Phillips said they talked to him about zoning, but he reassured them that "if there was a problem with zoning, I did not see the Council doing anything but try to help."

He said they asked about the neighborhood, but Phillips told them that there was no more crime there (in the nearby Lewisburg Housing Authority homes) than elsewhere in town, and that Haynes Street, in front of the school, was traditionally a nice and historic street.

He thought that a representative of the college would be in Lewisburg this week, traveling here after preaching in Greenwood, Miss., last weekend.

Lowe said the college representative he spoke with asked if there would be jobs in the area for students, and if there were local people willing to work at the college. He answered "yes" to both.

"It would be great if that building was brought back and looking good," said Lowe. "It would be great for the neighborhood, and good for everybody."

Bugg told the group assembled in front of the school before the sale that it was being sold "as is - where is, without warranties or contingencies." A ten percent buyer's premium was payable on the final price, and a ten percent deposit was due on sale day, with the deal to be closed on or before April 15.

The new buyers will take over a big building (48,000 square feet is the estimate) and very little else. After the main sale, Bugg and his assistants took the group inside and proceeded to sell just about everything that was movable for rock-bottom prices. Exit signs, water fountains, gymnasium lights, gas heaters, window air conditioners, cafeteria equipment, a room full of desks, an upright piano - anything they could find, they sold.

Ethan Rutledge, 18, a senior at Marshall County High School, paid $100 for the skateboard ramps that he and his friends have been using in the old gym. The basketball goals brought $25, the scoreboards $25, and the bleachers went for $40.

Some of the building is in bad repair, with broken windows, peeling paint, and evidence of water damage, while other rooms are moderately good condition, having been fixed up and used for several church ministry activities.

It is unknown whether lead-based paint or asbestos is a problem anywhere in the structure.