Banner Staff Writer
A piece of land owned by Hyde Property will receive a second look by the Cleveland Board of Education per the Site Committee’s recommendation.
“There are a number of reconsiderations we have gone through with this piece of property. One of those is the direction of growth on Highway 60,” said Murl Dirksen, site committee member.
Dirksen highlighted the growth along Freewill Road, off Georgetown, along Adkisson Drive and through Paul Huff Parkway. He mentioned another issue for the board to consider.
“If in fact, we do not go into that issue or pursue development, then we are almost dead in the water with the pressure we are facing at E.L. Ross and Yates,” Dirksen said. “That is a major concern for us, because those schools are already full.”
The school board’s discussions came Monday night during a formal monthly session.
The new elementary school will need to be central to growth, according to Dirksen.
“We just talked about how expensive buses are,” Dirksen said. “We have to locate an elementary school in the middle of the developmental area.”
Continued Dirksen, “We have to say, ‘OK, transportation is $80,000 a school bus.’ It has to be a major concern of ours. How many miles can we place on those buses?”
An additional Hyde Property bonus is its proximity to Cleveland Middle School.
“If you have parents who have children in both the elementary and middle schools, then it will be easier on transportation,” Dirksen said.
Hyde Property is currently asking $1.1 million for the 20 acres of land off Georgetown Road/Highway 60. Fourteen acres are situated two feet above the 100 Year Flood levels. The remaining 6 acres are what Dirksen describes as being “nice woodlands.” He suggested using the land for trails, wetlands, or additional recreational activity.
Land is being looked at to support a school for 500-700 students. Expansion is anticipated in the school’s future. Enough land is needed to house the initial school population and the subsequent growth.
Jim Workman, agent with Bender Realty, assured site committee members the Hyde property is grade ready, last Wednesday. He said the land would hold no surprises and the city would not have to move any dirt. In addition, all utilities are ready for set up.
Dirksen said the school board is open to any options made available to them.
“We are keeping all of our options open until the board is unanimous or agrees on a piece of land,” said Steve Morgan, site committee and school board member.
Board members agree they want to consider all options to make the best decision.
“This is not our money. This is the taxpayers’ money,” Morgan said. “Until we get someone to tell us this is the lowest we will get a piece of land for, we do not sign a thing.”
Morgan reiterated the school board is open to additional property options.
“We are open to other pieces of land,” Morgan said. “We need a large, perfectly placed piece of property that is an inexpensive as possible.”
School board members will walk the Hyde property once markers are placed.