Hoover BOE approves multi-million dollar sale of old Berry High School

Published 10:01 pm Monday, April 18, 2016

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—The Hoover Board of Education approved the multi-million dollar sale of the old Berry High School property and facility during an April 18 meeting at Green Valley Elementary School.

The resolution approved by the school board allows for the sale of the property on Columbiana road to Vestavia Hills City Schools for $11 million.

The former Berry High School building currently houses the system’s New Beginnings and Second Chance programs, cumulatively known as the Crossroads School. Hoover City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy assured concerned members of the public the sale of the building would not jeopardize the Crossroads School programs.

“We have had conversations with our leadership teams…we’ve been thoughtful with how we will proceed with all fairness to our students,” Murphy said, noting the importance of the Crossroads School the school system. “We will be able to proceed in support of both of those programs.”

Three members of the public voiced opposition to the sale of the Berry High School facility and property, requesting the Board of Education consider other uses for the former school, such as using the building for another school.

Murphy explained the facility needs an extensive amount of work to bring it to code, and more work to make it comparable to the system’s two high schools.

“We have had our people walk through with me as of recent…something we have struggled with is the cost of bringing that building up to code,” Murphy said. “We do know there are areas of that campus that are compromised.”

Hoover Board of Education Member Earl Cooper spoke in support of selling the Berry High School property and facility, noting the property has no commercial potential and no other school district will want it.

“Here we are and we’re about to be stuck with a liability, not an asset at this point,” Cooper said.

Cooper noted Vestavia’s $11 million offer is $2 million more than the offer previously made by the city of Hoover, and more than the property’s value, appraised earlier at between $9-10 million.

“We’re the loose end in all of this when it comes to old Berry,” Cooper said. “We need to take the offer we have.”