Interest Shown In School’s Property
FARMINGTON — The School Board has three issues to consider concerning school property next to Jerry “Pop” Williams Elementary School on Broyles Street.
Bryan Law, superintendent, threw out the discussion at the board’s meeting last week so members could begin thinking about how to respond. Decisions probably will be made at the Nov. 13 meeting.
Law said Black Hills Energy Co., and the city of Fayetteville have approached the school requesting easements for utility lines.
Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn has talked to Law about the possibility of the city purchasing seven to eight acres for its new public works building.
Law said he would ask Penn and representatives from the city of Fayetteville and Black Hills Energy to attend the November meeting to answer questions.
Black Hills Energy wants an easement that goes across the back of the property for a gas pipeline. About 90 percent of the easement would be in a floodplain area.
The city of Fayetteville wants an easement that runs along Broyles Street in front of the school and in front of vacant property next to the school. This would be used for a sewer line that goes to the city’s solid waste treatment plant located off Broyles Street. Law said Fayetteville was willing to pay one dollar for the easement.
The city wants to purchase about 7-9 acres of the vacant land next to Williams. In all, the school has 40 acres on Broyles Street. Williams uses eight acres and Law said the school would want to keep some as a buffer zone for the elementary school.
The city is interested in the northwest part of the land, which would be a minimum of 350 feet up to 450 feet of road frontage along Broyles and all the way to the back property line. This would include floodplain land.
This is the second time the city has expressed interest in purchasing school property next to Williams. Previously, School Board members did not want to sell only part of the property but hoped to be able to sell all of it to a developer.
In 2015, MadSky Construction offered to purchase the property for $600,000 to build a single family housing subdivision. However, the firm terminated the contract in February 2016, because the property did not allow for a gravity sewer system for a multi-lot development.
The company’s due diligence found large rocks within about six feet of the surface, which meant the property would be extremely shallow for sewer.
Law wondered if a new sewer line installed by the city of Fayetteville would help in selling and developing the land for residential property.
“I wonder if it would make it more valuable,” Law said.
The land was appraised at $22,300 per acre in 2013, by Stringfellow & Associates of Farmington.
Board member Doug Williams said the sewer line would only be valuable to the school if developers would have the ability to hook onto it along Broyles Street.
Law said the city had offered to build a new public works building that would match the elementary school. Law said he and Penn did not discuss a price per acre for the land but Law said he assumed it would be the appraised price.
In other action, Law did not have good news on bids for dirt work for the new football/soccer stadium and track. The school only received two bids for dirt work and the lowest bid was $200,000 higher than estimated.
“The construction market is very hot right now,” Law said.
He said school officials have realized they are probably wanting too much in the project and will have to scale it back to meet the proposed budget.
“We walked out of the meeting a little roughed up,” Law said, adding school officials would continue to meet with the construction manager to reduce the costs of the overall project.
The board also agreed to move its annual school board election to the May preferential primary. For 2018, the School Board Election will be May 22.
Annual school board elections have been on the third Tuesday of September but now must be either on the same day as preferential primaries in May or the general election in November. Act 901, passed by the Arkansas Legislature this year, requires the change.
The position held by board member Travis Warren will be the next one up for election.