During a special-called meeting March 29, the Franklin Special School District board of education gave approval for staff to begin the process to purchase a roughly 4.7-acre property at 205 Eddy Lane, Franklin, to create a new central district office complex.

The new property is about 2 miles from the district’s existing central office on New Hwy. 96 West and would be home to district offices as well as offices for the district’s MAC before and after school care programs. The district would likely be able to store district buses on that same property, FSSD Director of Schools David Snowden said.

David Esslinger, FSSD associate director of schools for finance and administration, said some of the district’s existing facilities have outlived their useful lives and would cost millions to repair. The new property would replace the district’s central office annex, which is located on Cannon Street near Battle Avenue.

“We have a current situation with a building that is in great need of repair and a lot of work if it’s going to be used by our district in any way,” Esslinger said. “We have been living with it for a long time, and we currently don’t have any K-8 students in it; we have MAC and WeeMAC [child care programs] in it and other central office staff and technology in it.”

The Eddy Lane property includes an existing office building that could utilized by district staff, Esslinger said. A purchase amount for the new land was estimated to be approximately $5 million, not including the cost of construction for any additional buildings, according to the district.

To help pay for the land purchase, the district would consider selling the land currently occupied by the district’s central office annex as well as an additional property on Fairground Street. That land then could be rezoned for another use, such as a residential area, Snowden said. Buses, which have been stored at Freedom Middle School since 2007, would be relocated.

With the approval from the board, Esslinger said the district will begin research on what kind of renovations would be needed on the current buildings as well as what other buildings could be added.

“We would need to do our due diligence about the property,” Esslinger said.

Should the board finalize the purchase of the property, Esslinger said the district could begin the transition to the new building by the end of the year.