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Deal is done for new high school site

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By Geoff Hamill

 

A new high school is on the horizon for Washington County, and the paperwork is almost done to make the purchase of 69.5 acres for the campus official.
The Washington County School Board met recently, along with Tommy Ward, who is selling the land to the school district for $701,500, and attorneys for each side.


There was no disagreement on the part of the buyer and seller, but instead, some clarification needed on an easement which Ward wanted, but the school district had no authority to provide.
Robin Cochran, superintendent of Washington County Schools, said the district wanted a turn lane on the new bypass, which will lead into the property site of the future new high school. She said that was granted, which may have saved the district as much as $500,000. A request by Ward for a commercial entrance, however, was not granted.
“Mr. Ward requested that a commercial entrance be granted. He owns the land directly to the right as soon as you turn onto our property there,” she explained. “I don’t know what he plans to do with the property.”
Cochran said the state highway department did not grant Ward’s request, and she added that the department of education was also against the idea.
“There’s a lot of traffic mixing there, even if it’s only for a couple of hundred feet. You’ve got school traffic, which is busy and can be crazy anyway, even if it’s well organized,” Cochran said. “It’s especially heavy in a high school, where you have new drivers.”
Ward did not receive the entrance he wanted on the new bypass, but he said he is now seeking an entrance to his property, which would be along KY 555.
“It’s dead. They (the state) said no, and I accepted it,” Ward said. “They (the school district) get 69.5 acres. They get the entrance (on the bypass) and I get the one on KY 555.”
Ward said he now owns the property to the right of the new school site, which is 34.5 acres, as well as 15.9 acres across the new bypass, which is located next to the River of Life Church.
Ward said he is not at liberty to say exactly what he plans to do with the property, but he did say it is zoned highway commercial, and is in the city limits of Springfield.
The city of Springfield’s zoning laws, under section 403, list highway commercial property as eligible for such uses as automobile service stations; automobile sales (new and used); banks and financial institutions; drug stores; grocery stores or supermarkets; motels, restaurants; professional government offices, as well as other purposes.
Cochran said with the issue remaining about the easement Ward had wanted, both parties finally negotiated and agreed that the sale will be finalized, and Ward may or may not get the permit he has requested, which she said is out of the hands of the school district.
“We couldn’t guarantee that, but I hope he does get it. I want him to. But we’re ready to move. We’re trying to approve schematic designs, and if not, we didn’t want to spend any money for an area you may not build on,” Cochran said. She added that the sale is now complete. Ward commented that the sale of the property is to be officially closed by Aug. 15.
Cochran said she feels the school district made the best decision on the site for the new high school, and she said she is excited to see progress begin.
The district has a building committee meeting and work session scheduled for Aug. 10, and she said they hope to finalize some details for the Aug. 15 regular school board meeting, where she hopes to be able to release an architectural rendering of the new school.