The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 6, 2013

Buyer ‘still interested’ in Belle Mina purchase

By Kim West

— The Athens businessman who previously offered to buy the former Mooresville-Belle Mina Elementary School property is still interested, said county school officials during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

During the school board’s Sept. 17 work session, J. Bradley Horner made a $600,000 lease-purchase proposal to renovate the property into a full-time daycare called Asher Academy.

The 6.9-acre property at 5711 Mooresville Road still includes the shuttered school’s main building. Hawkins Groundwork in Athens recently razed the gymnasium after it sustained heavy damage from an arson fire on Oct. 14.

The school system approved the emergency expense due to safety concerns and the condition of the gym after the fire.

“The property has been made safe again to the extent that we can make it safe, but the gym that was damaged has been removed,” said Dr. Tom Sisk, superintendent of Limestone County Schools.

When Horner outlined his intentions in September, school officials had hoped to put the item on Tuesday’s meeting agenda, but the fire and stipulations by the Alabama Building Commission have caused delays.

“He’s still interested, but obviously the numbers are going to have to change,” Sisk said. “I can’t imagine him making the same offer as before. The gym was in the best condition of the school buildings, and the other buildings will need an extensive overhaul.”