Efforts underway to save Knoxville's old South High School

Efforts underway to save Knoxville's old South High School

Posted:
The historic building at Moody Avenue and Tipton Street has become a blighted property. The historic building at Moody Avenue and Tipton Street has become a blighted property.
"It's pretty sad when you see there's a chance it could be saved and be an asset to the community instead of a liability," said Monte Stanley. "It's pretty sad when you see there's a chance it could be saved and be an asset to the community instead of a liability," said Monte Stanley.
"When folks don't take care of buildings they continue to decline to the point they start to fall down, and that's dangerous for the public and the community," said Knoxville Director of Public Service David Brace. "When folks don't take care of buildings they continue to decline to the point they start to fall down, and that's dangerous for the public and the community," said Knoxville Director of Public Service David Brace.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knoxville city officials are moving forward to stabilize old South High School.

The historic building at Moody Avenue and Tipton Street has become a blighted property, but plans are in the works to save the structure.

Monte Stanley lives and works just three blocks away from old South High School. He went to school there in the 1960s, but over the years his alma mater has become run down.

"It's pretty sad when you see there's a chance it could be saved and be an asset to the community instead of a liability," said Stanley.

Discussions about what to do about the building went on for years before it was sold in 2008 with talk of turning it into an assisted-living facility, but the owner failed to maintain it.

Knoxville Director of Public Service David Brace says not only is the building an eyesore, it is also a danger.

A person fell through the roof in December.

"When folks don't take care of buildings they continue to decline to the point they start to fall down, and that's dangerous for the public and the community," said Brace. "It's a public health issue and a community health issue, so we are going to move forward with stabilizing this building."

The city has been working on a way to prevent the building from sustaining further damage. An order for demolition by neglect has been approved.

Now the city is stepping in.

"The ordinance gives the city legal authority to stabilize buildings that are historic," said Brace.

The city plans to stabilize the building to repair and replace part of the roof. Workers will also secure the old school by boarding up windows and doors.

City officials are now checking prices to do the work. A bidding process will take place next and eventually the city council will have to approve a contract.

It could be three months before the actual repairs are made, with a cost of $50,000 to $70,000.

For Stanley, stabilizing the building is worth the time and money.

"It's a beautiful old building and we'd love to see it saved for the community," he said.

According to the city, the property owner, Bahman Kasraei, has been notified for years to make the repairs.

Because the city has had to step in, Kasraei will be billed for the work. If he fails to pay the bill a lien will be put on the property.

6 News called Kasraei, but he said he had no comment.

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