Published: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 5:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 12:01 a.m.
County buys Davidson Country Day School
By Heather J. Smith
When the Davidson County Board of Commissioners were presented a contract to buy the former Davidson Country Day School for $1.8 million at their meeting Tuesday, all members agreed it was a deal, but not all agreed the county should take it.
After a lengthy debate of the good and bad things surrounding the purchase, commissioners voted 4-3 to buy the property from Davidson Academy, Inc. for relocation of one or more county agencies.
Commissioners Dr. Max Walser, Chairman Fred McClure, Billy Joe Kepley
and Cathy Dunn voted for the purchase. Larry Potts, Sam Watford and Don
Truell voted against it.
This spring, Davidson Country Day School moved out of its location on West
Center Street Extension after administrators said the private school could not
afford the mortgage on the property. The Bank of North Carolina held the
mortgage on the buildings, fixtures and furniture on 11 acres, but ownership
remained with Davidson Academy, Inc., the not-for-profit corporation that
operated the school.
Davidson County began considering the property as a new location for many
of its departments — recreation, the agricultural extension, senior services
and others are housed in cramped quarters and need larger facilities.
Late in Tuesday’s meeting, County Attorney Charles Frye presented
commissioners a $1.825 million purchasing agreement for the property with a
closing date of Aug. 28.
Potts said economic conditions were too sour for the county to justify the
“I think it’s the wrong property at the wrong place at definitely the wrong
time and I’m against it,” Potts said.
Watford agreed, saying forecasts that the economy will get better are
still uncertain. Until the economy actually gets better, Watford favored the
county deciding against the purchase.
Walser said he agreed with Potts and Watford about times being hard, but he
saw it as a chance to buy a finished facility valued at $3.5 million and in
good shape, for much less.
“I know the economy is bad right now but I don’t think an opportunity like
this will come along again for the rest of our tenure on this board,” Walser
While admitting it was a great price and the county needs expansion space,
Truell said the board should consider what the public can afford.
“The people of this county have to pay for it through their taxes,” Truell
said. “I can’t support it.”
His opinions were echoed by Dunn.
“If we’re going to spend the taxpayers money, it should be on the people,”
Instead of the county buying something only the county would use, classroom
space could be used for activities by senior services, the gym for hosting
games organized by the recreation department and other uses that would
directly benefit the public. She said the price offered the county would be
much less than the price of buying land, designing a building, hiring a
contractor and finishing the interior.
But other commissioners’ opposition held.
“How is it growing?” asked McClure.