Ledger Inquirer

Inquirer: Several express interest in helping save Bibb school

Courtesy of Rivertown Aerial PhotographyThis photo taken with a drone shows the extent of the damage to the old Bibb City Elementary School.
Courtesy of Rivertown Aerial PhotographyThis photo taken with a drone shows the extent of the damage to the old Bibb City Elementary School.

The saga of Bibb City Elementary School continues this week, as last week's column brought its sad condition to the attention of a lot of folks who care.

Sentient Readers will recall that retired educator Mike Edmondson contacted me about the 100-year-old former elementary school. Its roof has failed and collapsed at the eastern end, causing some of the interior floors and ceilings to collapse in on themselves.

Now, thanks to our friends at Rivertown Aerial Photography and their drone, we can see the extent of the collapse. More ominously, we can also see that a much smaller hole has developed at the western end of the roof, which will eventually cause the same thing to happen at that end if the building isn't stabilized. Soon.

I spoke again to Edmondson late last week, and he had some new things to report. He had been in touch with people at the school district, including Superintendent David Lewis. Lewis told him he is very interested in seeing the building rescued. Edmondson also was told that Bibb Elementary is on a list of school district properties that it is interested in swapping with the city government for land out Cusseta Road to use for Spencer High athletic facilities.

But when Edmondson posted that news on the Bibb Elementary Facebook page, he heard from Columbus Councilor Judy Thom

as, who said yes it is on that list of properties, but it's not one the city is interested in swapping for.

A while later, Lewis contacted Edmondson and said a private citizen, whom he did not identify, has expressed interest in buying the property and is set to meet with district folks this week.

"Ultimately I want to see it rebuilt and saved," Edmondson said. "I'd like for it to be me, but it doesn't have to be me."

In addition to the unidentified potential buyer, the Historic Columbus Foundation has contacted Edmondson and expressed its interest in being involved in saving the old building.

I also received a call from former school board member John Wells, who attended Bibb Elementary. He said he tried to buy the old building years ago, before it had become so weather-beaten, but the school district wanted too much for it.

I got another call from a gentleman named John Wright, who also is a graduate of Bibb Elementary, although far from being a recent one.

"I started Bibb City School 85 years ago at the age of 5 years," Wright said. "I know the Bibb City culture well, having lived there for 18 years altogether."

That's all there is to report as of now, but stay tuned.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@Ledger-enquirer.com. Unless, of course, I happened to hit the Powerball over the weekend. In that case, you're on your own.

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