Historic Madison Heights School Will Be Torn Down

Madison Heights, VA - A historic old school in Amherst County is going to be torn down.

The Phelps Road school in Madison Heights has spent the last several years in disrepair, and last week, the board of supervisors made the decision at an appeals hearing.

A California developer purchased the property in 2009 with plans of renovating the structure, then filed for bankruptcy a year later. Without any improvements, the county says it has to come down.

"It breaks my heart," said Tillie Terry Hunter.

The Phelps Road School used to be Hunter's old stomping ground.

"It's sad. It's like a ghost town now. But if these walls could talk, that would be a good story," Hunter added.

She played basketball for Monelison High School, joined a sorority and graduated with the class of 1952.

Once a month more than a dozen of her classmates still get together to reminisce about the good times.

County officials say the former school building is infested with rats and snakes and has become a breeding ground for crime.

"Over the years we've received numerous complaints," Sheriff Jimmy Ayers said of the school.

He says the structure is no longer safe for his deputies to go inside and calls this building a public safety hazard. And so the county hopes to tear the building down within the next year.

"I believe this could be turned into something unique. But who would take it on?" Hunter added.

The developer will have to pay to have the building torn down.