RANGE PRIDE: Former school building being eyed as possible community center

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, July 6, 2017

One local elementary school continues to hold a special place in the heart of Jessica Bitner.
The Carter County Community Advisory Board (CAB) secretary addressed members during Thursday’s meeting and expressed interest in raising money to acquire the former Range Elementary School building. The school, located near the Watauga community, was formerly used operated under Carter County Schools until it was shut down years ago.
Bitner, of the community popularly known as “Turkeytown,” told CAB members she’d like to acquire the school for the hopes of turning it into a community center with multiple uses.
Bitner added the property is up for sale at approximately $199,000 and is hoping to raise enough funds to acquire the building for the project. A GoFundMe crowdsourcing account was recently created for individuals looking to help with the project.
“Range Elementary School will always hold a special place in my heart. As a child, I remember how excited I was to have the opportunity to go to school there. The once lively building with smiling faces now stands empty, deserted, and for sale,” Bitner posted on the GoFundMe page.
Bitner’s dream is that the facility can be purchased and turned into a community center that would feature a community garden, day care center, cafeteria, sports leagues for the disabled, tutoring programs and resources for veterans and the elderly.
If the goal falls short, Bitner added that she would like to see the funds be used for other projects offered by CAB and other groups.
“If we do not raise enough for the purchase of this building all funds will go to help area organizations whose missions are to enrich the lives of others in our area such as the Elizabethton Ideas group, Journee, Carter County CAB, T-MAC, Carter County Proud, and several other local groups,” Bitner posted on the site.
Individuals can visit www.gofundme.com/carter-county-community-center online to make a donation for the project.
Updates from CAB can be followed by visiting the Carter County Community Advisory Board Facebook page online.

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