Dothan commissioners are considering a proposal to donate the former Montana Street Magnet School to the Dothan Housing Authority.
The school has been sitting empty since the Dothan City School system abandoned the property at the start of the 2019-2020 school year after deciding to close four locations that once operated under the school system – including three elementary schools and Dusy Street central office locations.
The Housing Authority seeks to use the building for office spaces, and as a point to provide resources for the community, among other things.
City Manager Kevin Cowper said the city spends a considerable amount of money on upkeep for the property – around $50,000 in utilities yearly, as well as insurance, and other maintenance – and donating the property would help save the city time and money.
“This is about as good of a repurposing of the facility as we can get,” Cowper said.
While the property has not been appraised, Assistant City Manager Randy Morris previously told the Eagle the property, which includes the almost 42,000 square-foot building, is insured for $5,025,100.
Dothan Housing Authority Director Sam Crawford will be presenting the full plans for the property in two to three weeks. He told commissioners he is excited about the potential of the building and what it can provide for the community, which includes the Baptist Bottom neighborhood city officials are targeting for revitalization and clean-up.
“It’s more than just a building,” Crawford said. “It’s about a neighborhood that’s in trouble. It’s beyond a tipping point now but we believe we can put it back in balance.”
He plans to present artist renderings of what the school building will look like once it’s remodeled for the housing authority’s purposes at the scheduled meeting, delayed due to a COVID outbreak in the authority’s offices.
Commissioners seemed in favor of the initial proposal at Tuesday's commission meeting.
Dothan City Schools is currently holding onto the former Cloverdale Elementary School building for satellite Dothan Preparatory Academy classrooms, which serve as remedial classes for junior high students.
The fate of the former Grandview Elementary School and Dusy Street location has not been decided at this time.
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