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Inside Bulloch Business: Westside school property has new owner, focus
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    A number of you have contacted me about the “old Westside” School on Westside Road in Bulloch County. You have noticed the recent work that has been done on the structure and grounds, and have asked me to find out what is going on. Here’s the “skinny.”
    The building was bought a few months ago by Clint Smith, a young, established businessman in this area. Smith is co-owner of Smithfield Golf Club and owner of Titan Turf. Smith has also done a little real estate development near Smithfield.
    Smith said the building had been on the market for about a year when he decided to buy it.
    “I know that many people remember the building as a school, and some know it as the old Shrine Club,” he said. “I became familiar with it as the Shrine Club, because my dad was a Shriner. I always thought the building had a lot of character and potential.”
    Smith said he is in the process of renovating the building and updating the electrical, heating and air, and kitchen.
    “I want to rent the building out for gatherings,” he said. “From parties to weddings to meetings, I just thought Statesboro needed another option for hosting events. It really is perfect for that, and has been used for that for the last 20 or so years.”
    Renovations that have already been made include a cleaning up of the grounds, a new roof, and painting. Smith plans to overhaul the electrical and create a level floor in the area that is now the auditorium.
    “When everything is finished, we should have two very nice rooms – one will be 2,400 square feet and the other 2,600 square feet,” he said. “In addition, there will be another 1,600-square-foot room which can serve as a nice area for a smaller party.”
    Smith said that the total square footage of the building under roof is approximately 12,000. The lot itself is a little over six acres. Smith said the grounds are very important to him, as he wants it to be very inviting and pretty enough for weddings.
    “We have to have lovely grounds, a place that people would be proud to be married and have their reception,” he said. “That is part of the overall plan.”
    Smith said he hopes to have everything ready to go by this spring, but isn’t bound by any deadline.
    “I think we can have everything done by then, but we are going to do things right and make it very nice, so we will see if our timeline holds. I have received a number of calls from people that would like to rent it, but we are not quite ready yet. That, in and of itself, is very encouraging.”
    Smith said when he bought the building, more than one person looked at him as if he had made a mistake.
    “Before we started cleaning it up and making repairs, I think people thought I was crazy,” he said. “Now that it is beginning to shape up, I think people are starting to realize that this old, historic building still has a lot of life in it, and maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all.”
    Smith said he wants those living near the building to know that it will be operated in such a manner that those who lease it are out of it at a reasonable hour, period, no exceptions.
    “I intend for this facility to be a good neighbor to those around it,” he said. “We want to add to the neighborhood, not detract from it.”
    Smith said he has not chosen the name for the facility yet, but he’s working on it.
    Until next week, I bid you au revoir.
    Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at
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