Muscogee County School District looks to buy Bibb Mill property

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Muscogee County School District could be making a multi-million dollar purchase for a new performing arts center. Board members are voting to purchase the property surrounding the old Bibb Mill, which burned down in October 2008.

Some skeptics may say the remains of the Bibb Mill aren't worth $3.6 million, but the Muscogee County School District says the land may be the new home for a performing arts center.

"We're voting to have the option to purchase this land, 14 1/2 acres and all that goes with it including the RiverMill Event Center," explained Beth Harris, Muscogee County School Board Member.

Tax payers already helped fund the project in 2003, and Harris says that money would be supplemented with newer Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax dollars, "The Performing Arts Center, as I understand, was put in 2003 SPLOST and we have funds that have to be used from that so add that to what we have in the new SPLOST then that's the money we will use to buy the land."

The magnet academy would be for middle and high school students and plans show the RiverMill Event Center would act as the main school, while plans for the Bibb Mill property are still up in the air.

"I feel like there is such history in there, its rich in history, therefore I think being in the building itself with the wide open spaces, on the river front, with the amphitheater, it's a good place for children to learn how to perform," said Beth Harris, who represents District 8.

School district member Beth Harris says she understands some people see the purchase as a waste of funding, but she encourages them to have an open mind about the possibilities, "For the most part I've gotten positive feedback for the Performing Arts Center, there is some contention about this building, but if you come down here and look around and you were inspired but the arts, you would get a deeper sense of that in this building."

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.