Bronson, school board talk about gym

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By Mark Scohier

 Despite "hurt feelings" and a unanimous vote by Bronson Town Council members April 1 to forego any more dealings with the Levy County School Board on the use or purchase of the Old Bronson High School Gym, a deal now seems to be in the works.

Several town staff members, along with Vice Mayor Berlon Weeks, attended Tuesday morning's school board meeting at the promise of a proposal on the matter. And that's what they got.

School Board Superintendent Bob Hastings put forth an agreement to purchase the gym and surrounding parking lot for $200,000. An option to purchase a nearby multi-purpose building for $100,000 was also offered, as well as the possibility of purchase or use of the football field at the facility, though no figure was provided for the value of the latter. The school board approved the proposal unanimously.

"I think this is a good thing," Weeks said. "Thank you for the offer," later adding that the council would have to take the proposal into consideration.

If the offer is accepted, the cost of the facility would not have to be paid in full until the end of a five-year period, though the town would, year by year, pay a $1 lease and assume all liability for the facility in "as is condition."

Hastings said the school board approached the town about four years ago, asking $600,000 for the entire facility, but officials passed, saying they preferred to build another facility at the town's recreational park.

Still, hastings said, the school board was always interested in having Bronson or "any other entity" take over the facility.

"Our primary responsibility is education of our students and we do this by keeping teachers employed and programs in place," Hastings wrote at the beginning of his proposal to the town. "With our shrinking budgets we cannot afford to maintain and repair the gym for recreational use."