County, School Board Talk Service Consolidation; Old Molino School Property

January 28, 2009

The Escambia County Commission and Escambia County School District held a joint meeting Tuesday, discussing ways the two could consolidate services. The continued attempt by the county to obtain the old Molino Elementary School for a library and community center.

The two governmental bodies discussed combining services like transportation, health insurance, purchasing, human resources, vehicle maintenance and information technology. They even discussed holding joint town hall meetings in across the county.

The two boards looked options for improving traffic flow at Pine Forest High School, including the possible construction of a road by the county on the PHS property that would run parallel to the exisiting Long Leaf Drive. The county said they would be willing to accept the old Molino Elementary and Wedgewood Middle school properties as payment for the road.

The county has attempted to acqure the old Molino School property from the school board for several months.

In July, the county commission offered the school board $2 million for both unused school campuses, but that offer was shot down by the school district. Then-superintendent Jim Paul made a $3.3 million counter offer that the county commission did not accept. The $3.3 million was broken down as $2.9 million for the Wedgewood property and $400,000 for the old Molino School property.

The county has made standing offer to allow the school board to use the county owned civic center rent-free for graduation ceremonies for  a number of years in exchange for the two school properties, but that offer has also not been accepted by the school board.

Plans call for the old Molino school to become a community hub, possibly including a 5,000 square foot library, a museum highlighting Molino history, a small health clinic, a business incubator, renovation of the gym and one additional building for community events and private party rental along with other uses.

The commission has already applied for a half million dollar grant for the library portion of the project, but they have yet to be able to obtain the building from the school district.

The half million grant, if awarded, would be matched by another half million from the county. The county’s portion would be from the Local Option Sales Tax. The county has already approved their portion of the funds to renovate part of the old Molino Elementary into a library. The grant, if awarded, would require the county to use the facility as a library in Molino for a minimum of 20 years.

The Molino school closed in 2003 when the new Molino Park Elementary School consolidated Molino Elementary and Barrineau Park Elementary.

The school, which sits on nine acres along County Road 95A, first opened in 1939.

Pictured above: An aerial view of the old Molino Elementary School property on Highway 95A.


2 Responses to “County, School Board Talk Service Consolidation; Old Molino School Property”

  1. sandy on February 21st, 2009 3:02 pm

    Bring the old school Back If It was good for the older generation it
    is good for the young generation put our tax dollers to work fix it

  2. 587! on January 29th, 2009 4:21 pm

    Old Molino School… alot of memories there. I hate that its getting treated the way it is. In my personal opinion it should be left how it is. Either way, its a great hangout spot.