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Bluff City Middle bids to be opened 2 p.m. Tuesday

Rick Wagner • Apr 27, 2020 at 12:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The first in a series of former Sullivan County school buildings to be sold after the system declared them surplus will be Bluff City Middle School, Board of Education attorney Pat Hull told the school board Thursday.

At 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 28, sealed bids are due and will be opened for the property, formerly Bluff City High School, Purchasing Agent Kris Davis said Friday. So far, she has received two bids via mail, but she is also accepting bids electronically and will accept sealed, in-person bids Tuesday.

She said a third potential bidder has contacted school authorities about the property but had not submitted a bid as of Friday evening. She said the bids will be opened in the old County Courthouse in Blountville.

The site is a little more than five acres.

Hull told the Board of Education during its electronic meeting, held online because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, that he got a survey on the property and that advertisements went out seeking bids.

Davis said the bids can be split into two parts: the majority of the property in the name of the school system and a small sliver or section in the name of Sullivan County.

At the March 5 school board meeting, Chris Laisure, owner of Business Information Systems in Piney Flats, presented the board a plan for up to six not-for-profit groups to use the property he proposes to buy.

The school board and commission are under no obligation to accept the low bid or any bid for the school properties, and they may reject all bids. Director of Schools David Cox Friday said the board at its work session and/or meeting May 7 could discuss or consider the bids or have a called meeting to do so.

The County Commission would meet later in May, the third Thursday, but County Mayor Richard Venable Friday said the commission could meet in a called session sooner than that to address the bid and other issues.

The school system in December ceased using Bluff City Middle, Holston Valley Middle and the middle school portion of Mary Hughes School, which was a K-8 facility. Middle school students from those three schools were merged into the new Sullivan East Middle, which opened in early January.

Hull and Davis said the next property to go up for bid is the ballfields at the old Holston Institute near Tri-Cities Airport. After that, Hull said the next would be the main Holston Institute property, which also served as Holston High and Holston Middle. However, Davis said no advertisement time frame or date of bid opening has been set for the ballfields.

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