Photo courtesy of Jason Gaston.
Berry High School
The former Berry High School campus on Columbiana Road now houses the Crossroads alternative school for Hoover City Schools.
The Hoover City Council tonight voted to rescind its offer to buy the former Berry High School property off Columbiana Road from the Hoover school system for $9 million.
The council voted to make the offer in April, with the idea of turning the 35-acre campus into an athletic complex, but Hoover school officials never acted upon it.
School officials this past summer said the U.S. Department of Justice had questions about where the Crossroads alternative school students who currently attend there would be moved and what the school system would do with the money received from sale of the property.
Then Kathy Murphy, who became Hoover’s school superintendent in June, said in September she also wanted to explore potential partnerships with nearby school districts for use of the property, such as a joint alternative school, career tech academies or a fine arts center.
The final decision about what will happen to the property lies with the school board, but Murphy said she felt obligated to explore all alternatives before making a recommendation to the board.
The Hoover City Council did not discuss its reasons for rescinding the offer to the school board during tonight’s meeting, but Councilman Gene Smith said afterward that the timeline for the offer already had expired.
The proposed contract called for the city of Hoover to pay the Hoover school board $3 million cash at closing on Oct. 1 of this year and two more $3 million payments over the following two years.
Some residents seemed to be under the impression that the offer was still valid, so the council wanted to formally rescind the offer, Smith said.
Plus, school officials had indicated to city officials that they did not want to sell the buildings on the campus but might be interested in selling the athletic fields, Smith said. However, school officials wanted to keep the price at $9 million, he said.
If school officials decided they wanted to come back to the table and negotiate a deal, that might be possible, but some council members are not interested in buying only the athletic facilities, particularly if the price was going to remain at $9 million, Smith said.
The property at 2826 Columbiana Road was the home of Berry High School for many years before being converted into a middle school when Hoover High School was built. The Hoover school system vacated the campus when a new Berry Middle School opened next to Spain Park High School but now holds classes for its Crossroads alternative school there.
The facility also is used for teacher training and offices for some central office personnel. The University of Alabama at Birmingham also holds some classes there.