School system to sell off land near old, segregation-era school

Two acres near Woods Chapel AME Church on Woods Chapel Road south of Graham might be sold to the church by the school system.

Alamance County’s commissioners have cleared the way for the local school system to sell off two acres of land near the site of a segregated black school that once operated off of NC 87 in the southern part of the county.

The commissioners, who had the right of first refusal on this piece of acreage, formally passed on the opportunity to purchase the land once they learned about the school system’s intentions for the 2-acre tract along Woods Chapel Road at their latest regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday.

That evening, Todd Thorpe, an assistant superintendent with the Alamance-Burlington school system, informed the commissioners that he and his colleagues never really had much use for the parcel, which the county’s once independent school system somehow acquired more than a half century ago.

“[It’s] a very old piece of property,” the assistant superintendent added as he perused some of the real estate documents he brought to the meeting. “It appears that we received the property some time in the 60s…and there’s a description there that talks about an African American schoolhouse, but the schoolhouse is actually on private property [near the school system’s land].”

Although assessed at $28,410 by Alamance County’s tax office, Thorpe insisted this parcel “has no use value” to the school system. He added, however, that he has received an inquiry about the land from a representative of Woods Chapel AME Church, whose sanctuary is situated nearby. He went on to inform the commissioners that the school system plans to go through a state-mandated upset bid process to give the neighboring church and any other potential buyers a shot at acquiring the lot.