JEFFERSON-The wait is finally over for the parents of future middle school students.
After months of searching, the Ashe County Board of Education has a found a piece of property it believes to be suitable for the future home of the Ashe County Middle School.
The board of education is currently negotiating the purchase of approximately 40 acres of land owned by the Dollar family near the expanded facility of American Emergency Vehicles in Jefferson.
Although a final number of acreage has yet to be finalized, Superintendent Phyllis Yates said the purchase price is in the neighborhood of $40,000 per acre or $1.6 million overall.
Pending the results of a soil sampling test to determine if the land is suitable for building, school officials will then move into the process of securing an architect to design the school.
Despite the imminent sale, Yates said it will be approximately a year and a half to two years before the property is shovel ready.
Any design plans must also be approved by the Department of Public Instruction’s School Planning Division in Raleigh.
For school officials, the selection of the property was a practical choice. The site is water and sewer ready. The abundance of space and level ground would also be conducive to any expansion plans.
In defending the school system’s decision, Yates also explained why the board did not choose a piece of property closer to the northwest corner of the county. Recently, the board has caught the ire of residents in that area who are already dreading a long commute for their children once they hit the middle grades age.
“We looked and looked and told community leaders if they could find a piece of property that was large enough and suitable and wasn’t on a mountain or hill like the present land at the middle school site, we would certainly look at it,” said Yates. “We just couldn’t find any property. Plus water and sewer (ready) make it a cheaper project. If we did it down that way (Warrensville), we must build our own water and sewer. In this day and age, it’s much better to have it provided to you.”
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.