Order delays demolition of old Hildebran High School

Published: Mar. 12, 2015 at 1:52 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2015 at 9:52 AM EDT
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HILDEBRAN, NC (WBTV) - After the Hildebran town council voted to tear the old Hildebran High School down, a new order has delayed demolition.

There wasn't a hearing Thursday, as planned, but there was a consent order issued that delayed any action by the town until July.

A civil trial date of July 20 is when "this matter may be heard upon it's merits" according to court paperwork.

The town will not be able to take any action to demolish the building until after the civil trial.

Many in the small town of 2,000 people wanted the old building saved. The property and buildings were sold to the town for $10 from the Burke County School system back in the 1980's.

The Town Hall and other offices are in what's called the newer part of the old school building complex. The section slated for demolition was the oldest part that was built in 1917.

"There is an emotional attachment for many to that building," said Johnny Childers of the Hildebran Heritage and Development Association. Childers went to school in the old building, and while he doesn't live in the town limits these days, he thinks it should be preserved.

"We think it can be useful again," he said.

Parts of the building, though, haven't been used in more than a quarter of a century, and hundreds of bats have made a home there. Conditions inside have deteriorated badly in recent years, say officials.

A renovation bid for part of the building came in at $1.2 million and town officials believe the cost of fixing the entire building would be in excess of $2 million.

Town officials say that is too expensive for the small town, adding that grants to do the job are not available.

The citizens groups opposed to the demolition say they believe grant money is available somewhere. They hope the delay in the demolition will give them enough time to prove that.

They indicated that all options would be explored as long as the building still stands.

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