GREEN — One of the city's most recognized landmarks is for sale — again.
The former East Liberty School on South Arlington Road, north of East Turkeyfoot Lake Road (Route 619), will be auctioned at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 24. Kiko Auctions of Canton will host the event.
"Hopefully someone with a passion for history" will buy the old school, City Planning Director Wayne Wiethe said.
The 2,000-square-foot brick structure was built in 1890. Its days as a school ended in 1927. It was used for storage before housing Nicholas Square Furniture for more than five decades.
The building was purchased in 2015 by Circle K, which donated it to the city. To preserve the old school, the city agreed to move it about 500 feet to its current location at 3492 S. Arlington so Circle K could build a gas station and convenience store.
Green officials want to get the building back in use. Last year, officials accepted sealed bids from interested buyers; one was for a school supply store and training center.
Wiethe said a deal never materialized.
"People have called about antique shops, pizza shop, coffee," said Wiethe, who added a limited amount of parking may make it ideal for professional offices, such as an architect or attorney.
Rather than take bids again, the building was transferred to Green's Community Improvement Corp. Cities often establish CICs as a means to legally buy and sell city-owned property for economic development, without going through a bidding process.
"We were trying to find the right fit; maybe it's best to let the market determine that," said Wiethe, who is also executive director of the CIC.
The architecture — a Romanesque Revival district schoolhouse — helped land it on the National Register of Historic Places last year. Wiethe said it also has a local landmark designation, which will provide local officials a large amount of oversight when it comes to any renovations to be planned by a new owner.
"And there hasn't been any heat in the building for years," Wiethe said.
According to the National Register nomination form, the East Liberty School housed students from District 11 when it was built in 1890, replacing an older schoolhouse. At the time, there were 14 school districts within what was then known as Green Township.
In the early 1900s, consolidation turned the one-room East Liberty into a two-classroom schoolhouse, with an additional portable building constructed nearby. In 1926, the year before the school closed, it housed 90 students in first through eighth grades.
Already beyond capacity, the building was replaced with a new one at 811 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Road. It remained in use until 1983, when it was sold to Chapel Hill Christian School.