A Lexington businessman has entered into a contract to buy the old Mt. Sterling High School building.

Daren Turner told the Advocate that he signed a contract Tuesday to buy the building from Roger Wilson. He would not disclose terms of the deal.

Turner said he plans to maintain as much of the old structure as possible, but a major renovation will get under way soon. He hopes to have the main building, which encompasses 20,000 square feet, complete within six to eight months.

Turner told the Advocate he’s in negotiations with potential tenants that promise to provide well-paying, professional jobs once they move in. “They will be very excited,” is what Turner expects the local reaction to be. “It will create a lot of jobs. … The locals will be very pleased.”

Before all this can take place Turner will have to get a zoning change for the property. It is not currently zoned for business purposes.

Turner said he plans to go before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission in the near future to ask that it be rezoned, but he doesn’t expect any problems.

Turner was involved in another recent building renovation project locally. A few years ago he bought the old Williamson Furniture building downtown, which he reconstructed. Most of the building was then leased to Gateway Children’s Services, a treatment facility for teens. Turner’s latest project housed Mt. Sterling High School until it closed in 1975. Later, it became Miller Middle School before closing for good in the 1980s.

Wilson bought the building several years ago from the Montgomery County School System. Wilson told the Advocate previously that he planned to lease the building, but the city would not give him the zoning changes he wanted.

From that point, the building fell into disrepair and vandals destroyed much of what remained. Public complaints followed and that played a role in the establishment of the city’s code enforcement board. The board cited Wilson on multiple occasions for violations of the city property maintenance code and ordered him to board up the windows and entryways to the building.

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