The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 7, 2013

Edgecombe to buy Roberson School?

County to discuss possible uses for 1952-era building tonight

The Daily Southerner
Calvin Adkins

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Commissioners will explore and investigate options for the future use of the old Roberson School building 7 p.m. tonight during its regular scheduled meeting.

Housing grades K-8, the building was built in the 1952 and used as Roberson Elementary School. Due to the decline of students, Roberson was closed as an elementary school in 2005.

Until its recent closing, it was used as an alternative school (Roberson Center for Educational Achievement) for student with behavioral and grade problems.  Members of the school board opted to shut down the center because the antiquated building needed repairs and the cost to operate the facility was not sufficient to its budget. Also only a few students attended the 33,319 square foot facility that was built to hold 335.

N.C. General Statues require the school board to offer the surplus property (15.48 acres and the buildings) to the board of commissioners at fair market value or at a price negotiated between the two boards.

Roberson Conetoe, Inc., whose members apparently have ties to the school, is asking the county to sell them the school so that they can preserve it as a historical monument.

A member of the incorporation, James Bell, from Brooklyn N.Y. wrote in a letter to the commissioner, "My vision is to use this surplus property to offer services and activities to the community, especially the young."

Bell suggest that the county lease the building to Roberson Conetoe Inc. for $1 a year.

In other actions the board will:

• hold a public hearing to consider and take action on proposed rezoning classification from AR-30 to M-2 for three lots in the Kingsboro Industrial Site. The site recently received CSX select site designation which should boost the county's chances of landing new industries on the site. QVC is currently the only industry on the site.

M-2 zoning allows large industries to be developed on the site.

• consideration of approval of Engineering services agreement between The Wooten Company and Edgecombe County to complete a water and sewer system evaluation for Princeville water and sewer system. Edgecombe County took over Princeville water and sewer in December.

• make appointments to the Human Services Advisory Board. The newly elected board will oversee the consolidated Board of Health and the Department of Social Services. Twenty-one names were nominated and another while the nominating committee is still searching for another four to fill speciality areas.