(06/09/2005)

By Bob Weaver

Following the demolition of the county's only swimming pool, it is likely that Calhoun's original high school will be torn down.

But first, it is being put on the selling block.

Calhoun County High School, the landmark building with twin towers was made with hand-cut Arnoldsburg limestone. It was erected about 1920.

Efforts to make new use of the old school have not been successful since it was closed in 1998, when Calhoun Middle-High School was opened at Mt. Zion.

Thousands of county students graduated from the old institution.

Originally, the Board of Education offered to donate the school for public use, including the gym and vocational building. There were no takers.

Then the building was auctioned to the highest bidder. Shirley Fitzwater, who attempted to find use for the structure, sold the property to California developer Dan Richards, son of Calhoun native Hagan Richards.

The Richard's family embarked on a concentrated effort to develop the structure for housing, cleaning up the property and hiring consultants.

"We just can't put the financial deal together to make it work," said Hagan Richards. "We've tried every avenue we can, because it was something we really wanted to happened."

Richards said the property is being put on the block for sale "with regret." It is likely, unless there is a buyer, the cut stone will be salvaged.

He said the gym floor and backboards are now for sale.

Hagan Richards can be contacted at 304-366-4472.


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