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County OKs swap for Central School site
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Effingham County commissioners may be able to move ahead with plans for the old Central School site, after agreeing to a property swap with the Board of Education.

Commissioners unanimously approved the trade with the school board for the old school site in Springfield for what is known as the Sheehy property.

Speaking to the commissioners on behalf of the Springfield Central High School Association, Franklin Goldwire appealed to them to approve the trade of land.

“We encourage you to accept the property,” he said. “It can be a win-win situation for all concerned. We encourage your acceptance of the Springfield Central High School property and the anticipated use of its grounds and facilities.”

Goldwire said some of the county’s most prominent citizens were educated at the school, which opened in 1956.

“We’re not just interested in the historical significance of the Central School site,” Goldwire said, “but also the value it adds to the community by developing the site into a dynamic service complex where citizens across the county will be proud to call it their own.”

The Central School site is home currently to the Head Start program. The county would need to negotiate a new lease with Head Start, according to director of community relations Adam Kobek.

Head Start operates one wing of the building and the gym during school hours.

The county has eyed moving social service organizations, such as Family Connection and Concerted Services, to the Central School property. It also could be the temporary home to the sheriff’s office when work on the new office and jail reaches a stage where it displaces deputies.

The board of education owns the property adjacent to the Sheehy property, and there is a conservation easement on the tract, according to Kobek. The Central School site is about five acres, and the Sheehy tract encompasses approximately 139 acres.

As part of its short term work program, the previous commission outlined $921,000 for a partial rehabilitation funding. That includes work on the gym in order to hold recreation programs.

The only immediate expense in order to use the site, Kobek said, is relocation of fiber cables to wire into county computers.

Kobek said the commissioners would have to allocate the money for rehab on the site.

Goldwire added that the Springfield Central High School Association is in the process of receiving 501(c)3 status. The organization also sponsors the Parent University.

“It is our sincere wish our association can form a partnership with the board of commissioners as we have with the board of education in providing a bridge between the home school and the community, through programs and plans currently taking place,” he said.