Hancock board to try another time to sell Broadview site

NEW CUMBERLAND — Members of the Hancock County Board of Education have given approval to advertise for the sale of former school property in Weirton, while one resident voiced interest in possibly purchasing the property.

The board unanimously approved Monday to give Superintendent Tim Woodward authority to prepare notice to sell the Broadview Elementary School property at a public auction, with the notice of the public auction and sale in accordance with state code.

During public comment prior to the vote, Weirton resident John Bortz expressed support for the board’s decision to place the property up for auction, and stated three people, including himself, had expressed interest in purchasing the property.

Bortz stated he looked to move from his current two-story home to a one-story home as his wife currently battles some health issues, while one other resident, Scott Boehm, expressed interest in building a home there as well.

“I’m more of the business person here,” Bortz said. “Scott and Mark (Sikora) are engineers, so if there’s any questions on any of the property, you can go to them.”

Bortz said he went to the city planning commission, and learned that it was 6.2 acres of property, but noted he wasn’t sure what he’d do with some of the land.

Ultimately, he said his plan was to put three lots on the property for about $150,000, which eventually may require a city street to be built.

The sale of the former school had been discussed over the past few meetings, with Woodward conducting research prior to the board’s Aug. 28 meeting, and answering questions regarding the property.

Among of the major questions answered Aug. 28 was regarding the ownership of the right-of-way, who owned which easements and whether the district had to pay back any money to any heirs of estates who previously owned that property.

According to West Virginia code, any property given to a board of education at an amount that is not fair market value, is located in a rural community and should no longer exist as board property is to be returned to the heirs of the original owner at the same amount, if wanted by the heirs.

However, in papers Woodward provided the board at the Aug. 28 meeting, which included board minutes dated back to 1953, Weirton was not considered a rural community back then, and as a result, the board are the owners of the property and the easements.

Although it had appeared on the Aug. 28 agenda, it was tabled to allow the board more time to look over the matter and take a proper vote.