|Representatives from the Rutherford County School Board toured the county Friday, looking at possible sites for two new middle schools because of the booming population.
Construction continues at the new Rockvale Middle School, but new buildings are also needed in the Lascassas and Buchanan areas.
“The need for new schools is for the same reason as always, growth and overcrowding,” said James Evans, Rutherford County Schools spokesman. “The schools in those areas are full and more residential developments are on the way.”
Rutherford County Schools add about 1,500 students per year due to growth; meaning one new school is needed each year to accommodate the new students.
“The last land we purchased was for the Rockvale Middle/High schools,” Evans explained. “We purchased 176.5 acres for a total price of $3.26 million in July 2007. There was no sewer on this land.”
The county paid about $18,500 per acre for the Rockvale site and about $12,000 an acre for the Stewarts Creek site in 2004, Evans said. Compared to the $50 to $60 thousand per acre landowners are asking now, it seems like a bargain.
Of the three sites appraised by the board Friday, the most attractive site is located on Manchester Highway, just a half-mile from Buchanan Elementary School. The 91-arce lot is large enough to house a 25-acre middle school and a 50-acre high school.
The board expects to construct a high school in the area within 20 years, but it could be needed as soon as 12 to 15 with the development of 2,800 homes on the Jennings-Jones property on Manchester Highway.
Only one lot was offered for viewing in the Lascassas area, Carl Hill and Associates proposed the 74-acre Compton Road site at more than $50,000 per acre.
The lot is attractive to the school board because it connects directly to Compton Road with secondary access off Emery Road.
However, 74 acres is well over the 25 acres needed to construct a middle school. Also, it does not connect directly to a sewer line, which is 0.2-mile from the site and could cost the county an additional $360,000 to connect.
Michelle Willard can be contacted at 869-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.