Plans to sell the old Walter Stokes School building on Belmont Boulevard to Lipscomb University have, at least momentarily, stalled, with Metro school officials having second thoughts about relinquishing the property while the district’s enrollment grows.
The historic building, situated across the street from the Lipscomb campus, most recently served as temporary space for students of Julia Green Elementary School during its renovation.
Lipscomb wants to buy the building to house administrative offices and classrooms for the university’s College of Education. A deal seemed secure after the school board voted this year to transfer the property to Metro — though the property would have still been subject to a typical bidding process.
But at Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting, District 25 Metro Councilman Sean McGuire, who represents the Green Hills area, deferred voting on an ordinance that would have officially declared the Stokes property as surplus, paving the way for its ultimate sale. The matter will be taken up again next month.
McGuire said Joe Edgens, the district’s director for facilities and operations, informed him the Friday before the vote that Metro schools officials were reconsidering declaring the property surplus until they review future growth patterns of the Hillsboro High School cluster.
“We asked Councilman McGuire if he would consider a deferral for a couple of meetings so that we could do an analysis of long-term enrollment needs in the cluster to see if we would need to use this site for a new school building,” said Green Hills school board member Michael Hayes.
School enrollment is up significantly over the previous year, hovering currently around 78,000.