Town Council debates selling old Triplett School

From left, Mount Jackson Mayor J.G. "Bucky" Miller and Town Council members Whitney Miller and Rodney M. Shepherd pose for a photo at the old Triplett School, where leftover fire department gear remains. Town Council is debating whether to sell or renovate the building. Kevin Zuckerman/Daily

MOUNT JACKSON – Members of the Mount Jackson Town Council announced Monday deliberations have begun on whether to renovate old Triplett School or to sell it to an outside party.

Two local businessmen have offered a bid on the building to the city. The building hosted the Mount Jackson Rescue and Fire Department until they moved into a new facility in April. Mayor J.G. “Bucky” Miller said the bid opened his and the Town Council’s eyes to the possibility of selling the property, and now a choice has to be made.

“There are two options that we face,” Miller said. “The first being fix this up and turn it into something, whatever that may be, at a cost to the town. The second option is to sell it to someone who can put life back into this property with their own money.”

Local businessmen Todd Holtzman and Dexter Mumaw offered what Miller described as “a substantial amount” to the town for the land. Miller declined to say what the offer was because the bidding process is ongoing and the bid was made in a closed session.

The two men proposed renovating the school and turning it into a center for history and the arts, as well as building a structure to house 28 duplex apartments in a field behind the school, Miller said. The two also floated the idea of using the basement of the building as an extension of the Mount Jackson Museum, which is running out of space.

Despite the offer, Miller said nothing is finalized and both he and the council are looking to the public for more ideas on what to do with the property. He said the council is considering renovating the building and using it as a community center to host theater, music and movie nights, and using the fields behind the building for Little League baseball.

Whichever party ends up owning the building is likely to face hefty renovation costs. The building has been in use since the 1930s and will require much work to be done on it before it can host either a community center or a history and arts center.

“Whomever gets this project will have their work cut out for them,” Miller said.

Although an offer is on the table, the mayor and members of the public properties committee said they’re hoping to hear from community members on the matter. They are encouraging residents to attend an open house in the building from 10 a.m. to noon on June 4 to tour the building and leave suggestions.

After hearing from the community, the public properties committee will make a recommendation to Town Council on how to proceed.

“We have a wonderful opportunity here to figure out what’s best for the town,” Miller said. “Anyone who thinks this council has its mind made up has got it wrong.”

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com