Wilson Prep to buy buildings with bond funding

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Wilson Preparatory Academy made a move Thursday to buy the buildings the school currently leases.

School officials asked the Wilson City Council to hold a public hearing about Wilson Prep getting up to $18 million in bonds to finance and acquire the nearly 54,000 square-foot facilities on 77 acres along the 2700 block of Tilghman Road. No one spoke during the public hearing and the city has no financial obligation in the matter.

“Your approval here was purely a step required by the Internal Revenue Service code so that Wilson Preparatory Academy can borrow money on a tax-exempt basis to purchase the facilities they are already in,” said Mary Nash K. Rusher of McGuireWoods. “This allows them to spend less money on lease payments and more money on the kids.”

Also during the meeting, the council approved the plan to allocate $135,000 to purchase 204 Nash St. S. for the Wilson Arts Council and contribute $800,000 toward the estimated $1.6 million renovation.

“In order to assist the arts council, city staff began exploring alternatives with them that would be more cost-effective (than renovating the current headquarters),” according to a memorandum from Wilson Chief Planning and Development Officer Rodger Lentz. “204 Nash St. S. was seen as a top candidate for relocation and renovation.

Working through preliminary cost estimates, it was determined that the full building could be renovated at a reasonable cost to provide for the needs of the arts council providing approximately 19,000 square feet of space for arts programs in the community.”

During the presentation portion of the meeting, Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments PDS planner Tirence Horne thanked the city for participating in a pilot project that combined data from various sources to analyze energy efficiency and services to low-income households.

A U.S. Department of Energy grant helped support the project that created a secure central database with GIS mapping capabilities, which could be recreated across the country to promote energy conservation and reduce costs. Visit tinyurl.com/y7jjoc2e to learn more about the project.