Commissioners establish lease terms for Shawtown

Renovations on historic school are now complete

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The renovations are now complete for the revamping and retooling of the old Shawtown School in Lillington and now the county is preparing to enter into lease agreements with the agencies set to occupy the location.

During their July work session, the Harnett County Board of Commissioners outlined what they’d like to see included in the agreements which will affect both current and anticipated tenants to the newly-renovated portion of the old school’s campus.

“The renovation was completed prior to June 30, so that is complete,” Assistant County Manager Brian Haney said. “There is a general statute that outlines the county leasing property to other entities.”

Currently the campus includes a modular building which houses the Head Start program, another building housing the Shawtown Alumni Association and the Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action Agency.

Displaced by the demolition of both the old classroom building and gymnasium — which made room for additional planned park amenities — was the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office Police Athletic League.

The PAL along with the Boys & Girls Club of Harnett County, the Offender Re-entry Program and some services of Joblink will take up residence in the refurbished building.

While the Boy’s and Girl’s Club is new to the county, the Re-entry and Joblink have both been previously housed in other locations.

“All told there are six future occupants on the table right now for this site,” Haney said. “Historically, the county has not necessarily had written agreements with these entities that have been on site. So what we’re doing with this renovation is to get some agreements in place.”

After several points were discussed, including grandfathering in all current tenants, all lessees will pay one set price per year and new tenants will be notified of the need to wait until the end of the fiscal year to establish the monthly utility payments. The panel decided to lease all spaces for $1 for the current fiscal year, through June 30. The agreements are to include a notice to all new tenants that utilities will be determined after the fiscal year has ended to give the county time to calculate those amounts based on previous charges.

The panel also set the length of the leases at three years, with the plan calling for the leases to be effective upon signing by the tenants.

Because of a required 30-day public notice regarding the leases, the lessees and the terms of the leases, the building won’t be occupied before the commissioners’ Aug. 19 meeting when approval is expected.

Because of the timeline, the county plans to conduct an open house and public meeting on the facility on Monday, Sept. 9 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The open house will continue until 6:30 when the public meeting will take place.

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