Local Vet Has Solution for Old Baker High Building

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  For Manford Metcalf, the old Baker High School building holds special meaning.

"I was one of the first graduates from Baker in 1945- its first graduating class," he said.

Not only that, Metcalf is also an Army and Navy vet and served in WWII and the Korean War. He says the vacant building could be used to give local vets a place to get medical help.

He thinks Columbus Council should buy the building from the Muscogee County School Board, who currently owns it, and use federal stimulus monies to turn it into a Veteran's Medical Center.

"I've talked to so many veterans and they're discouraged with the traveling they have to do and their records are being kept in different places and they see it as a central point that they can use where all their records would be in one place and they think it's just a tremendous idea," Metcalf added.

But officials with the School Board say it would not be cost efficient nor do they think stimulus funds could be used for that purpose. That's because stimulus funds have already been earmarked for projects.

While they say the building is salvageable, they estimate it would cost $15 million to make it usable again- not to mention millions more to upkeep it.

Still, Metcalf is optimistic.

"I think if they have a study made and come and see what they need to do to rebuild it and remodel it into a Veteran's Medical Center, I think they'll be very impressed," he said.

We're told the school board does not have any buyers for this building.

Metcalf will present his plan to the mayor and Columbus Council this Thursday.

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