Old Courtland High School auctioned off to local man

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COURTLAND, Ala. (WHNT) - A high school that has sat empty for the last decade is now in new hands. The Board of Education held an auction Friday to sell the old Courtland High School to the highest bidder -- whether it went in pieces or as a whole.

"The reason they chose the auction method is because it creates competition," explained Bryan Knox, the fast-talking auctioneer who owns Horton Auction and Real Estate. More than two dozen prospective buyers showed up for their chance to purchase all, or part, of the property.

"We had some adjoining property owners interested, we had some developers interested," said Knox. "We sold the property for $54,000 to a gentleman from the area."

The new owner, Johnnie Orr, has no immediate plans for his new asset, mostly because he was not planning to buy the whole thing.

"I was interested in buying one tract, the football field," said Orr. The field was one of five tracts of the 16+ acre property. "In order to get the part of land that I wanted, I had to bid on the whole thing."

And that's what he did. But his only plan for the property involves giving the adjacent church, First Baptist Courtland, a bigger backyard.

"They're interested in doing some stuff outside there and I want to help them take care of that," he said. His son played quarterback and was a proud Courtland Chief. He now lives in Decatur, but still attends the church next door to his alma mater.

Now, Orr hopes to see the church turn the property into something beneficial for the community, such as a youth center. Whatever the land's future, he is leaving it up to the church.

"It's whatever the church decides. It's not my decision. I just need to let them have the property to do what they need to with it," said Orr.

The Courtland man says he will look into leasing or selling the additional land he acquired through the auction.

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