ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing next month on a proposal to trade the recently acquired Rohanen School property to New Life Church Ministries in exchange for land on Airport Road.
If approved, the county would receive 26.25 acres of property at 575 Airport Road and the ministry would receive the former Rohanen Middle School’s 11.36 acres, including the buildings, located at 252 School St. in East Rockingham, according to a legal notice. The hearing will be held at the board’s next meeting on July 10 at 5:30 p.m.
The Rev. Gary Richardson with New Life, who also runs Place of Grace Rescue Mission on the property, declined to comment on the plans for what will be done with the old school property.
“Let’s see what I have to say on the 11th,” Richardson said.
County Manager Bryan Land said in an email that there were no plans for the ministry’s land on Airport Road, but “it does provide us a nice piece of property for future industrial development.”
The Board of Education passed a resolution on April 12 declaring the school “surplus,” allowing the county to purchase it for $100 earlier this month. On the Daily Journal’s Facebook post about the sale, residents expressed fear that nothing would ever happen with the property or wished that it had stayed a school, while others had their own suggestions.
“I would love to see the county donate the facility to a church or non-profit organization with the stipulation that they open and maintain a shelter and soup kitchen there,” commented Jimmy Herring. Aubrey Parker agreed, saying, “A homeless shelter would be ideal.”
The school had been closed since February 2017 following a feasibility study that determined that students would be better off moving to the Cordova School’s building, which was in better condition, according to Superintendent Dr. Cindy Goodman.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]