A decision to terminate a 50-year lease agreement on a building once used by a national nonprofit organization to record audiobooks for the dyslexic and visually impaired could open up some office space in central Oak Ridge.
But city officials said they havenâ€™t decided what to do with it yet.
Now partially empty, the split-level two-story building on Badger Road was once home to Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. Located on the south side of Alvin K. Bissell Park, it still houses the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, which includes the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra and Oak Ridge Chorus.
The Oak Ridge City Council will consider terminating the 50-year lease agreement with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, now known as Learning Ally, during a meeting next Monday. The lease started in June 1968 and expires in 2018.
Based in Princeton, N.J., Learning Ally announced plans in January to close the Badger Road office. It was one of eight studios in the United States that were shut down because of financial issues, changes in technology, and the way students now get materials. The nonprofit had been in Oak Ridge more than 60 years and has since vacated the Badger Road building.
Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson plans to call a work session to review recommended uses for the building. Among the ideas that have apparently received at least some consideration are using part of the space for municipal departments. But city officials said nothing is final yet, and the municipal staff is doing internal reviews.
The city owns the landâ€”about 1.5 acres, according to state records. The lease says the property, together with all the buildings and structures on it, will be turned over to the city when the lease expires or is terminated, Oak Ridge City Attorney Ken Krushenski said in a memo to City Council members. HeÂ said Learning Ally was prepared to turn over the property to the city â€œas isâ€ on Aug. 1.
ORCMA and the Lions Club, another organization that uses the building, know that Learning Ally will be vacating the property and surrendering it to the city of Oak Ridge, Krushenski said. Watson said ORCMA and the Lions Club will be allowed to continue using the building until further notice. ORCMA pays $350 in rent per month for its part of the building.
The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. The agenda is available here.