TRISD Superintendent Kenneth Rohrbach said demolishing the buildings was part of the bond voters passed when construction of the new high school was approved. Revising that plan would mean checking with the counsel first and then bringing the topic to the TRISD board for discussion.
Liska proposed using the old buildings as a location for the Three Rivers Boys and Girls Club or as a storm shelter for the community.
“Their place isn’t very good,” Liska said. “Other cities re-purposed their old buildings, maybe it could be a rec center or storm shelter. We don’t have one in Three Rivers.”
Liska said he spoke with community members and alumni during last week’s all-school reunion and heard many people say they want to keep the old gymnasium but not necessarily the classrooms attached to it.
Huff said TRISD alumni have a lot of memories attached to the old gym and would like to know the building’s current status. Depending on the extent of repairs needed, the buildings could be salvageable.
“I think if we’re told the repairs are more than the building is worth, then that would be the answer,” Huff said.
Neither Rohrbach nor board president David Saenz said they were opposed to the idea. But the district would have to make sure doing so is cost effective and doesn’t breach the bond’s requirements.
“I’m 50/50 on it because that’s why we built the new high school; I can see the concern about the Boys and Girls Club needing a place to play basketball,” Saenz said. “I think we should talk about it.”
The old gym wasn’t the only TRISD building up for discussion during the school board meeting on Sept. 23. Two of the three 1,200- to 1,500-square-foot modular buildings on the middle school campus are in poor condition, and the district is looking into donating them to nonprofit organizations.
Rohrbach said the buildings are only worth between $1,000 and 2,000, and the cost of moving them is nearly double their value, depending on how far they are moved. Rohrbach said a staff member attends church in Sandia, and they could use a modular building, but moving it that far wasn’t cost effective.
“The front building is worth too much to give away,” Rohrbach said. “Moving expenses depend on how far they are taking them. To go to Sandia would be $10,000, quite a distance there. But to somewhere here in town, you’re not looking at near as much money.”
Rohrbach suggested notifying local nonprofit groups about the buildings and then discussing them further based on the feedback.