09/18/13 — Commission approves buying land for school

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Commission approves buying land for school

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 18, 2013 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning agreed to allow the Board of Education to proceed with the purchase of a 35.449-acre site for a new Spring Creek Middle School.

The school board paid $2,500 for an option on the property in April. The total purchase price, including the $2,500, is $212,500. Commissioners also approved the school board's request to pay for the land with lottery funds.

No plans have been approved for the school. However, the commissioners' $258 million capital improvement plan does call for the $17.6 million school to be built in 2017-18.

The plan is a proposal only, no money has been appropriated.

The state requires that the county board of commissioners approve the purchase price school boards pay for land, County Attorney Borden Parker said.

In addition, state law requires commissioners to approve the use of lottery funds to purchase property, he said.

"As you know, we are working together to move forward in our facilities plan," schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said. "As part of that plan we have four new schools in that plan so we are going to buy four pieces of property. We have secured a piece in Grantham and now we are looking to secure a piece for Spring Creek Middle School.

"We will be coming back to you later on as we are able to find two additional pieces of property for two new schools in the northern end of the county."

Taylor said the school board had entered into the land option with Edna Stancil on April 25 for a piece of property she owns on the east side of N.C. 111 South and just west of Park Road in Indian Springs Township.

The site is located just northeast of Spring Creek High School.

The property was appraised and prices of comparable property in the area ranged from $3,746 to $6,525 an acre, Taylor said.

"This property was appraised at $5,994, which is what the Board of Education negotiated with Mrs. Stancil to purchase the property for," Taylor said. "We have secured the first six-month option and there were actually two additional six-month options.

"Fortunately we have been able to proceed here in the first six months. We have already paid her $2,500 out of our capital outlay funds. So we would like to have your approval for the additional $210,000 out of lottery."

The school board did its due diligence on the property, he said.

"The first thing we did was to contact Mr. Connie Price of Wayne County Planning to see if that land could be used for a school," Taylor said. "That is a permitted use. We also checked on the water/sewer and electrical. On the water side, I understand there is a 12-inch line that runs along Highway 111. It will accommodate the size of that school. As I understand it, the sewer line would probably be connected to the one at Spring Creek High. We have a pumping station there."

Taylor said school officials also checked with Tri-County EMC to ensure it could accommodate the school's electrical needs.

"The additional step we took, we went to the (state) DPI (Department of Public Instruction) School Planning and talked to Mr. Ken Phelps who is a school planning consultant," Taylor said. "We actually went to (surveyor) Bobby Rex Kornegay's firm.

"He took a design, sort of prototype, and placed it on that property. They looked at that and said they didn't see any issues whatsoever. In fact, you can probably turn that school in a couple of directions if we needed to."

Commission Chairman Steve Keen called for questions or comments before a motion was made.

"I have seen this property and the price is appropriate," Commissioner Bill Pate said.

Keen asked what the school board's balance of lottery funds would be once the money was taken out.

Taylor said he thought it was somewhat over $6 million.

Commissioner John Bell's motion to approve both requests was unanimously approved.