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Ask Matt ... what's up with Boyd property

The old Boyd Chevrolet property, seen from Oakland Street, is unlikely to be a construction site anytime soon. The old Boyd Chevrolet property, seen from Oakland Street, is unlikely to be a construction site anytime soon.

Q. What’s going to happen to the old Boyd Chevrolet property next to Hendersonville High School? Are they going to close Ninth Avenue next to the high school?

Henderson County purchased the auto dealership property from the Boyd family in early 2013 for a cool $2.75 million. The idea was that the 3.1-acre tract could be used for expansion of Hendersonville High School. According to Assistant Superintendent Bo Caldwell, the high school needs both classrooms and parking, plus it has outgrown both the cafeteria and media center. But HHS will be competing with other schools for capital funds and there is no money for improvements to the Boyd tract in the 2015-16 budget.
The Boyd tract contains two existing buildings — a maintenance garage and a showroom — neither of which easily lends itself to educational use. If classrooms are at a premium at HHS, there is another issue — distance. School principal Bobby Wilkins said that students don’t have 10 minutes between classes to walk from the main building to the Boyd property (they only have four). Also, the property is 100 percent concrete and asphalt — not a good start for redevelopment or outdoor athletics. The tract is two-tiered and very little of it is flat. And it is bereft of trees. (In their defense, how many auto dealerships have ever had a penchant for trees?)
The short-term use for the tract is also uncertain. The property is actually not owned by the school system; it’s still titled to Henderson County. “They haven’t even given us the keys,” said Caldwell. Henderson County officials indicate that they are not actively pursuing leasing the site although there are no laws that would prohibit that. Right now the only use is storage of emergency and rescue equipment. While school was in session, HHS students parked there. And, by the way, Pardee Hospital is expected to ask the Board of Commissioners for permission to use the space for overflow parking during construction of the Wingate-BRCC-Pardee Health Sciences Building.
Closing Ninth Avenue, the street that separates the HHS campus from the Boyd tract, requires a public hearing and approval by City Council. The Board of Commissioners and School Board endorsed the closing in 2013 but the City Council pulled the item from its agenda in February 2014 because any construction is so far in the future. There are active water and sewer lines under the street so no buildings can be built over those utilities. Nevertheless, if closed, Ninth Avenue would add about seven-tenths of an acre to the Boyd tract, a 20 percent “bonus.” When the Board of Commissioners bought the property, the School Board agreed not to even ask for money until 2016.
Perhaps more about the future of the site will be known later this summer when the School Board completes its master plan for capital construction. Even then, a Bearcat freshman today may never see a bulldozer before graduation day.

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