Farmington School Board Votes To Sell Land To City
FARMINGTON — After a lot of discussion, Farmington School Board voted 4-1 last week to sell seven acres near Williams Elementary School to the city of Farmington for a new public works building.
Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn presented the city’s written offer to purchase seven acres for $22,500 per acre for $157,500. The city asked for land beginning in the northwest corner of the property, with 375 feet of frontage along Broyles Street and going back 812 feet.
After the discussion, Bryan Law, school superintendent, recommended accepting the offer.
Board member Wade Cash voted against the motion, saying he believed the school should hold on to the land in case it was needed in the future.
“No offense to you, mayor, but I see us as a growing district,” Cash said in opposing the idea. “I just don’t think we should sell it. I think the school is going to need it at some time.”
Penn said the city has looked at many sites for a new public works building but always came back to the school land on Broyles as the best option.
The main part of the public works building will be 80-feet by 100-feet with additional space for offices, bathrooms and a breakroom.
“We think it will look all right and be good for the school,” Penn told School Board members.
Penn said the building would use the same color scheme as Williams Elementary School so it would fit in with the area. It will have a secure fence around the perimeter. A minimum amount of equipment will be kept on the outside of the building and Penn said city employees would maintain the property.
The city will use a septic system for wastewater. A perk test showed the land is satisfactory for a septic system.
Law said the district owns 40 acres along Broyles. Williams takes up eight acres and the school wants to keep a buffer around the building. Selling seven acres to the city of Farmington would leave the school with a small amount of land between Williams and the new city property.
Law noted the vacant land has generated interest over the years from developers but interest always wanes when they look at sewer issues. The school has had the property appraised twice. In 2008, 30 acres appraised for $25,800 per acre. In 2013, the appraisal came back at $22,500 per acre for 20 acres.
In responding to Cash’s objection to the sale, Law said he did not think the school district would expand Williams in the future but would add onto Folsom or possibly add a third elementary school.
Prior to the vote, board member Travis Warren said he shared some of Cash’s concerns.
Law pointed out the district needs money to finish Phase 3 of the high school campus and revenue from selling the land could go toward that project.
“We’ve had this land for a period of time and we’ve not done anything with it,” Law said. “Having the city as a neighbor would not be the worst neighbor.”
Board members agreed that if the school sold the land, the board should be prepared to hold on to the rest of the land for any future school projects.
Penn said Farmington City Council would vote on the accepted offer at its March 12 meeting.
In other action, School Board voted to change an easement it granted to Black Hills Energy Co., in January. Black Hills asked for a new easement that is 20-feet-wide and 1,320 feet in length to go along the back of the school property at Williams Elementary. A four-inch steel line will be installed in the easement.
Black Hills will pay $3,500 for the easement.
The Board also agreed to let a new church called Kingdom Culture, NWA, use Folsom Elementary from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays for $750 per month. The church would do its own set up and clean up. Farmington School District has allowed other churches to use Folsom in the past for Sunday services.