Farm­ing­ton School Board Votes To Sell Land To City

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - NEWS - By Lynn Kut­ter

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.

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