Schools discuss buying vacant Shoney’s building

The Shoney’s property was appraised by the school system at $600,000, but the seller of the property is asking $1.2 million.

The School Board is exploring its options before committing to purchasing the piece of land in front of Hahnville High School where a Shoney’s currently stands.

The Finance Committee was informed during the meeting on Feb. 22 that the property owner is interested in selling, but the members could not come to an agreement on a proposed use for it.

Assistant Superintendent Felicia Gomez mentioned a few of the ideas as to what the building could be used for, including a parent or booster club headquarters and a special education building. The most popular idea with the committee was that of putting adult education in that building.

However, with the recent budget cuts, the future of the adult education program is unknown and they would have to buy the building with no idea how much funding the program would receive next year.

Patrick O’Malley, administrator of ancillary services for the school district, brought the proposition in front of the committee. He told them that while the seller is asking $1.2 million, the property was appraised in September 2009 for about $600,000.

While almost all of the committee members agreed that the lower price was the only one acceptable, many thought that the purchase would be unwise without a decided use.

“I think it’s desirable for us to own the property that abuts Hahnville High School, but before we entertain an idea of making an offer on the property, I think it’s good for us to know what we’re going to use it for,” said board member Mary Bergeron. “A building like that could have many potential uses for the district, but I would prefer to see a plan before we move forward.”

Most agreed that a stronger plan was needed before moving forward, but many members of the committee had strong opinions on the subject.

Board member John Smith was not in agreement with Bergeron and thinks that the board has more important uses for that money right now.

“We’ve talked about this property in the past,” Smith said. “I’m not interested unless it has a real educational use.”
Member Clarence Savoie said he thinks the board should “take a serious look” at the property before someone else buys it and does something that they don’t like with it.

Meanwhile, member Alex Suffrin said that he feels the property is too detached to be incorporated into Hahnville High.

For now, Superintendent Rodney Lafon said he will take the information back to the administration and try to come up with a more solid plan for how this building could be used.


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