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School Gets A New Life

WHITE HALL - A landmark, 75-year -old school building contstructed in 1939 by the federal Works Pregress Administration is on its way to a new life as a Redfield community center. The former Redfield Middle School - closed at the end of the 2012-13 academic year by the White Hall School Board - was cleared by the panel last week for immediate sale to the Keep Redfiled Middle School citizens group. The organization, which listed Todd Dobbins as its president, was the high bidder on the building at $70,112.

White Hall School District officials opened four bids on the property last month after an injunction on the proposed sale was lifted by Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis. Redfield native Paul Byrd, a Little Rock attorney, obtained the two-week injunction behalf of two groups and a number of individuals.

The remaining bids ranged from $15,689 to $60,111.

“This is a good day for the White Hall School District and the city of Redfield,” said Redfield veterinarian Dr. Conley Byrd, a jefferson County Quorum Court member who had given his support to Redfield’s efforts to gain ownership of the property. “We had been concerned about possible demolition of the building, and that’s why we filed suit.

“The Redfield community came together and made scrifices to come up with the money to make its goal a reality,”he continued. “Redfield wanted the property as a community center and the school district wanted to sell the building and get out from under the responsibilities and expense of maintainig it. I think it turned out to be a blessing for everyone.”

WHSD Superintendent Larry Smith said the sale could be completed by Friday. Smith said money from the sale must be placed in a on-interest bearing account and expended on prescribed measures within two years to satisfy applicable state and federal regulations.

“I’m glad this is behind us and (the Redfield group) is the party that bought the old school,” said school board President Dr. Raymond Jones. “Now it’ll be used to serve children in basketball and other youth programs, and people of all ages will be able to enjoy it as a community center. It couldn’t have gone better tonight.”

Byrd said several groups have expressed interest in utilizing the site “right away” for after-school programs, including 4-H Club activities and pee-wee athletics.