Wednesday, April 25, 2012

National College Wanted Huff Lane School Campus

Huff Lane School: Going, going ...
Valerie Garner has an interesting piece in the Roanoke Free Press this morning about the future use of the closed Huff Lane School in my neighborhood of Roanoke, a use that includes hotels and a restaurant. There were apparently seven bids for the property, the most interesting of which was its use as a medical and central campus for National College in Salem.

The bid for that use came in under the minimum, but it would have negated the expense and disruption of tearing down the perfectly useful school and would have been considerably more environmentally friendly (re-use is preferred as an environmentally friendly act). It's a shame that the hotel was rammed through without public discussion of the alternatives. My guess is that most people in Roanoke--and not just those in the neighborhood--would far prefer the use of this property as a school than yet another hotel in a city with too many rooms--and too many restaurants--already.

Bad decision, council. Another bad decision.


  1. Arnette Crocker TresselApril 25, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    What a shame. Frank Longaker, is a visionary, but he is a practical investor. He has expanded National College from its Roanoke origin (NBC), to over 20 campuses in five states. With each new opening of a campus has come a renewal of pride and commerce within the neighborhood.

  2. I am in complete agreement with you about this, Dan. I live in this area and feel it is a real breach of trust with my neighborhood. My daughter plays at that park on a weekly basis and it is heavily used by many people. This big commercial development will really change the atmosphere! I am saddened by my growing understanding of how little Roanoke's leadership cares about my part of the city. I've long loved the city, but I'm considering moving.
    I should have been going to the meetings, but is there anything that can be done now?
    Annie Woodford

  3. Annie: Not much can be done now; not much could have been done from the beginning. The city does what it wants to do in its own way and has little concern for what we think or believe. The professionals advise council and council rubber stamps. This has been ill thought and it occurs to me that Longacre's interest would have had far more benefits than meeting the minimum bid--like educating workers who would pay taxes. It's a damn shame, but it is not at all unexpected. Think of the City Market Building renovation as what City Council and city staff think of city residents and you get the idea.