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Longview ISD again sells empty buildings

By Sherry Koonce skoonce@news-journal.com
June 14, 2012 at 11 p.m.


By the time summer is over and the new school year starts, a vacant Longview Independent School District campus once again will be filled with students.

But they won't be enrolled in the school district.

Longview ISD's board of trustees this week approved the sale of two empty properties: Valley View Elementary School and the second tract of the old Forest Park Middle School.

The properties were re-bid after a previous sale fell through.

The second tract of the old Forest Park property was sold for $142,500 to Coley Ford Holdings which is the benefactor entity for Austen-Coley Academy.

At its current location, at 707 Methvin St., the Austen-Coley Academy offers a full curriculum to dyslexic students.

Carla Matthews, Austen-Coley chairman of the board, said the school will relocate into the second tract of the former Forest Park campus, which has an 8,500-square-feet building.

"This is nothing short of a godsend. We were keeping our eyes open for a good deal. We don't need the space yet, but anticipate we will," Matthews said.

Austen-Coley accepts first through eighth grade students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia. The school opened a year ago, and last term had 12 students enrolled from area communities.

At its new location, Austen-Coley plans to add computer and physical education courses.

"We have such a unique program that is designed to teach kids what they need to deal with their dyslexia and reading issues," she said. "This new campus will offer plenty of room to expand."

Austen-Coley is scheduled to open for classes Aug. 13.

The other tract of the former Forest Park Middle School was sold earlier in the year to Longview Christian School.

In addition to the school's regular class program for students aged kindergarten through seniors, school officials plan to institute an early learning center for ages 6 weeks through pre-K.

Longview Christian School has 130 students enrolled but will have ample room to expand.

The Valley View campus on Alpine Road sold for $150,000 to Bible Teaching Ministries.

Reggie Brazzle, pastor of Bible Teaching Ministries Church, said the building will house a Christian-based elementary school.

Brazzle said they do not anticipate having it open for enrollment until the following school year.

Brazzle said Bible Teaching Ministries has been in Longview for 20 years.

"We wanted to do something to reach out to the area," he said. "Our church is located right down the street."

Both of the campuses were closed by LISD after new campuses were built as part of the school district's $27 million building program. The bond was the largest in the city's history.

In May, LISD board of trustees nixed the sale of Valley View and Forest Park as well as the old Longview High School after the prospective buyer, Blessings From Heavens Ministries, failed to close on the transaction by the closing date.

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