NEW CUMBERLAND - Chester Fire Chief John Hissam attended Tuesday night's meeting of the Hancock County Board of Education, but only to observe, not to take part in discussions about the impending sale of Newell Memorial Stadium.
"Nobody (from the school board) has talked to me," Hissam said as he left the meeting.
The board met in special session Tuesday, mostly to take action on routine personnel items but also to hold an executive session on the sale of the stadium properties in Newell and Weirton.
Both Newell Memorial Stadium and Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton are up for sale now that Oak Glen and Weir high schools have new sports complexes. The old stadiums have been declared surplus properties by the board, in anticipation of a public auction scheduled for Oct. 5.
That date may change, however, because the Weirton property is still being surveyed, school board President Jerry Durante said. Only a portion of the Weirton property is being sold because the school district needs part of it for bus parking and the maintenance department.
Soon after the school board's June announcement that it was selling the stadiums, Hissam approached the board about the Chester Volunteer Fire Department buying the Newell facility and making it available for public use.
Hissam made an offer of $150,000, then later upped the offer to $300,000. Superintendent Suzan Smith declined, saying the school district cannot negotiate with non-governmental organizations.
Smith and Durante have said the board must adhere to state law which mandates that surplus property be sold at public auction to the highest bidder.
Hissam was one of three people in the audience Tuesday, although it's not known why the others attended. It was learned prior to the Tuesday meeting that some Hancock County residents wanted to speak as to the future of Newell Memorial, but they reportedly were turned away because of the rules surrounding special meetings.
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