School Board secures option on Chapel Hill land

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Marshall County School Board has entered into an option to purchase for future expansion, land adjacent to Chapel Hill Elementary School. The Marshall County Commission approved the option at a cost of $50,000, which gives the option to purchase by Sept.1, 2007.

If purchased, the nonrefundable $50,000 will go toward the total purchase price of $927,080. Commissioner Sam Smith researched the price, $14,000 per acre, and found it to be fair.

In addition, if purchased, the developer has offered an additional tract in front of CHES, which is approximately 6.47 acres. Considering this added bonus, the actual cost per acre goes down to $12,753.

An easement was also discussed, which may be included in the contract. It involves a turn lane, which may be used in conjunction with a 70 acre subdivision. All plans must be approved by the developers' and the county's engineers.

The Marshall County Commission previously budgeted funds to go toward a project at Chapel Hill High School, but when the board discovered that not all of the money would be used, and that the land was available to purchase, they seized the opportunity.

" We are trying to be proactive by addressing the future needs of the Board of Education by staying ahead of the population explosion," said Commissioner Sam Smith.

CHES currently has 801 students and growing at a rate of 4 to 8 percent each year. Six portables are full of sixth graders that will be moved to Forrest High School next year.

" There is not one extra room available, and we will still need room for specialty teachers," said CHES Principal Dean Delk.

In 2003 the population of Chapel Hill was 1,182. Chapel Hill has grown since then and is expected to continue to grow.

The sewer ready, 66.82 acres may be used for a new school, an expansion of CHES, or resold.