BELMONT, N.C. — Several investors have expressed interest in purchasing the 83-year-old Belmont Middle School for redevelopment.
Gaston County is in the first round of bidding for the property, with a starting price of at least $2.5 million.
County staffers have marketed the building for potential mixed-use development, which could include a boutique hotel, event space, restaurants or residences, and investors have already toured the property.
Mike Ferguson met his wife when they attended the school in 1969, and he walks his dog past his alma mater multiple times a week.
"It's very important to me that they respect and maintain the dignity of it and the history of the school," Ferguson said.
Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin lives across the street from the school, and his children and grandchildren attended the school.
"I hope it'll be something that's usable for the whole community," Mayor Martin said.
While the building itself is not a historic landmark, the middle school is in Belmont’s downtown historic district, and, while developers could tear down some of the school's newer additions, county staffers believe investors will likely keep the original building to take advantage of tax credits.
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Gaston County Schools built a replacement middle school on South Point Road, which opened last August.
The first round of bids ends next Wednesday, and the county said it could end up going through multiple bidding rounds before the school is sold.
More information on the Belmont Middle School sale, including photos of the property, can be found on Gaston County's Surplus Properties website.