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District looks at possible sites for new high school

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Seven land owners meet with school board

By Geoff Hamill

 

Seven local land owners have stepped forward and shown interest in having their property used as the site of the new Washington County High School.
Following a meeting requesting the public to let officials with the Washington County school district know of land that might be used for a new school campus, seven people contacted the school board to discuss their property.
Superintendent of Washington County Schools Robin Cochran said meetings had been conducted with five of those citizens as of Monday, and two others were slated for yesterday morning. She said a cutoff date for citizens interested in having their land considered for the site was set for Jan. 18. The deadline was important because of the timeline ahead of school officials to keep the project on pace and moving forward, according to Cochran.
The seven land owners and the location of their property include:
• Joe Davis, approximately 60 acres, located on the corner of Mackville Road and the 150 Bypass
• Tommy Ward, approximately 104 acres along the yet-to-be-completed new Springfield Northwest Bypass (KY 555 end)
• Shawn Hamm, appoximately 30 acres at the rear of Saddlebrook Estates
• Joan Hamilton, approximately 80 acres along KY 150 Bypass
• Parker Beam, approximately 60 acres along the yet-to-be-completed new Springfield Northwest Bypass (St. Catharine end)
In addition to these owners, Cochran said Monday that she and the board were meeting Tuesday morning with Sandy Simms and Mark Simms, as well as Hal Goode, executive director of the Springfield Washington County Economic Development Authority.
Mark Simms said Monday that he and his father would discuss three different parcels of land, which were approximately 60 acres each. He said one was about a half-mile north of Springfield, and another was the same distance south of the city. The third parcel, he said, was  in the middle of the city.
Goode said he planned to discuss land available in the local industrial park. He added that as much as 316 acres would be available, although he knew that was more than the school district needs.
Cochran said the district needs about 40 to 60 acres of land to place the school and all facilities that would be needed for a high school campus.
“It’s an interesting fact that 10 acres are required, plus one additional acre for every 100 students,” Cochran said of state requirments for a new school campus. “We would need 16 acres by that, but it wouldn’t allow enough to do a comprehensive high school and sporting complexes. We don’t want to be land locked, either. What we build, more than likely wouldn’t be something that would ever be built onto, but if growth is great enough, you have to have foresight and long-term vision.”
After meeting with land owners on Tuesday of this week, Cochran said Chad Willis, the school district’s director of pupil personnel, will tour the available properties with architects and discuss the options for each property based on work that would be required to prepare each site for construction, as well as utilities and other factors. Willis is scheduled to tour the properties Thursday.
Following the tours, recommendations will be made to the board, at which time closed-session property negotiations will begin, according to Cochran.