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Carbon makes offer on JT building

Carbon County has made an offer to purchase the former Jim Thorpe Administration building, but several hurdles must still be cleared before the sale can be finalized.

On Thursday, the board of commissioners announced that the county offered $517,000 for the building at 410 Center Ave., and the school district has accepted the offer.

“It’s not a done deal,” Commissioner Chris Lukasevich said, adding that before additional consideration is given, an inspection must be completed to determine what renovations must occur to make it usable.

“It’s us doing due diligence with these inspections,” Lukasevich said.

Commissioner Rocky Ahner said the district had the building appraised with that figure being $600,000. He said an appraisal by the county showed the worth of the building to be $435,000.

“I was against offering $80,000 over the county’s appraised price. I understand we need more space but we don’t know the cost of renovation or yearly operational costs that will impact the budget,” Ahner said, adding that the offer was splitting the difference of the two appraisals.

In June, the Jim Thorpe Area School District said it wanted to sell the sprawling, brick structure.

Last month, the commissioners voted 2-1 to enter into an agreement with Boyle Construction Management of Allentown for a feasibility study of the building. Ahner was the only objector.

That study will include architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, civil engineering and environmental testing.

At that time, controller Mark Sverchek also showed some apprehension regarding the purchase.

He said, “Yes, I know we have a space problem and yes, I know we need to solve our space problem (but) I think the challenge in Jim Thorpe is the topography, the traffic pattern, the parking and of course it is on the tourist map of almost all tourists now.”

He said that more than just the cost must be considered.

Ahner said last month that he feels the county should first look at the courthouse to see how it could be reconfigured since some offices will be relocating to the 76 Susquehanna St. building in a few weeks.

Carbon County has made an offer on the Jim Thorpe administration building. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS