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Buying land for new Mt. Juliet school in the works
Aug 01, 2006 12:00 am
With money earmarked for a new school in Mt. Juliet, Wilson County Director of Schools Dr. Jim Duncan notified city officials of its plan to exercise the option to purchase land next to Rutland Elementary School.
Duncan, however, was quick to note the county's Board of Education will not officially purchase the land until November 2007.
"We don't have (the money) yet," Duncan said. "But it was approved to be placed (in our budget) and to come from captial outlay dollars. It is in the reserves from the County Commission. They will transfer money to us, and we will purchase the property."
The ability to purchase 23.7 acres of land stemmed from an agreement among the Wilson County school board, City of Mt. Juliet and CPS Land LLC, who developed the Providence MarketPlace and its subsequent residential area.
Developers agreed to set aside land which the school board could purchase for $10,000 per acre. The school board then has the right to purchase the land until November 2007, Duncan said.
"It is right about $10,000 an acre, which is cheaper than what land is going for in that area now," Wilson County Deputy Director of Schools Mickey Hall said Tuesday.
Before the school board purchases the land, it must give a one-year notice to the developer – the result of Tuesday afternoon's notice to the City of Mt. Juliet.
Mt. Juliet Mayor Linda Elam said she negotiated the deal with CPS Land for the option in 2004 when she was chair of the Mt. Juliet Municipal-Regional Planning Commission.
"I recognized in 2004 that the Providence neighborhood was so large that we would need additional schools to serve the children who would eventually live there," Elam wrote in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon.
The option allows the county to purchase the land at a reduced price, but only if the land is going to be used to build a school.
Hall explained if the proposed budget passes the County Commission, then the school system will have the $240,000 necessary to purchase the land.
Duncan notified the county Financial Management Committee of the school systems desire to purchase the property Monday, but plans to build a school haven't been made yet.
"It is not in the present building program at this time,' Hall said. "But between now and then it will get put into there as fast as Providence is developing."
Duncan said the site could be a middle school or an elementary school.
"It would be a site for presumably a middle school, but we'll look at needs as students come in more and more," the director of schools said.
The finance committee approved the funding for the land purchase as part of the school's needs assessment. Though the school system went two years without being granted any additional funds for needs, this year the school system received funding for a pay raise for the teachers and a new painting program.
The finance committee approved $500,000 for the school system to begin repainting buildings. Some of the buildings haven't had outside painting for more than 10 years.
Duncan said the school system also has plans to build additions to Rutland and Stoner Creek elementary schools.
"We're running out of space," Duncan said.
The schools plan to pay for the additions with a bond issue, Duncan said.