Old Holston Institute in Blountville may be sold

Rick Wagner • Nov 9, 2019 at 9:15 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County school officials are pursuing the sale of the old Holston Institute property near Tri-Cities Airport, possibly to private buyers or to nearby Northeast State Community College.

“There is some interest on their (NSCC officials’) part,” Board of Education Attorney Pat Hull told school board members at a meeting this week. Hull said that after talking with a real estate attorney, he believes deed restrictions that say the property must be used for educational purposes or revert to heirs of the original donors of the tract might not keep the school system from selling the land and buildings after all.

He said the likely next step is a tour of the property by NSCC officials, following the board’s recent decision to pursue selling and/or possibly gifting the site.

Hull said if private buyers get the property, they understand they would be responsible for meeting any mandate of the deed restrictions.

The school system stores filters in a metal building on the property and old furniture in parts of the school, while the sheriff’s office keeps records in other parts of the building.

“My belief is the potential liability (of the reversion clause) would be with whoever takes it over,” Hull said.

On other matters at the meeting, the board:

— Voted 7-0 to empower the Executive Committee of the BOE, the chairman and director, to work out electrical service contracts with Bristol Tennessee Essential Services for two athletic lighting, two sewer pump stations and one pole lighting contract. A glitch in contract language had the wrong electricity pricing for the outdoor athletic lights.

The board is to hold a called meeting Saturday morning, Nov. 16, in Nashville while all members but Vice Chairman Randall Jones are at the Tennessee School Boards Association annual meeting there. Chairman Michael Hughes and member Matthew Spivey will serve as voting delegates for the county system. The BOE also authorized new banking accounts for the new middle school.

— Set a date for the 2019 board retreat as Monday, Dec. 2, with the location and hours yet to be determined. Possible venues include the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville and the Ron Ramsey Agricultural Center in Blountville.

— Recognized the recent wins of the Sullivan North High School Band of Gold, the Mary Hughes School volleyball team, the Holston Middle girls cross country team and the seven Tennessee Reward Schools in the county system: Central Heights, Holston, Ketron, Miller Perry and Rock Springs elementary schools; Holston Middle; and South High.