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Board considers future use of surplus land

The Board of Education debated selling non-needed land owned by the school system at a planning session held Friday.
“Land is something that doesn’t grow. There’s no more that will come into existence,” said George Dellinger, chairman of the board’s Building and Site Committee. “I’m not in favor of disposing any property we have now.”
Fred Jarrett, a board member, brought up the subject at both the most recent Building and Site Committee meeting as well as September’s Board of Education meeting.
Jarrett pointed out tracts of land adjoining schools that currently had no use. These locations included Asbury School, North Lincoln High School and land between G.E. Massey Elementary School and the School of Technology.
Jarrett asked the board if they ever considered comparing the cost of relocating a school and the value placed on the land by developers.
His fellow board members were not open to the idea.
“The way we’re growing in Lincoln County, why should we sell any land?” asked Tommy Houser, a board member.
Jarrett suggested that the board simply come up with a philosophy on the issue.
“I guess the philosophy is we don’t have any land to sell,” replied Houser.
That said, board members did consider looking further at what to do with school land not currently being used.
North Lincoln High has between 20 and 35 acres of surplus land. The site may be large enough for a middle school, but building on it depends on conditions such as rock in the soil and wetland status.
“If they wake up and say that’s a wetland, you’re sunk,” said Dellinger.
The land that North Lincoln High sits on was originally purchased to be large to include an additional school. Due to environmental conditions, however, that possibility is still up in the air.
Buying a new tract of land for a middle school may be cheaper than moving rock at the currently owned site.
At the Friday planning session, the board unanimously voted in favor of having administrators with the county office research the possibility of placing another school on the current site.
As for land adjoining Asbury School, board members were not open to the idea of ever selling it.
“Why sell it and put ourselves in a bind down the road?” asked Dellinger. “Asbury is a typical example. How far down the road would another school need to be built? That would be an ideal property.”
Property located between G.E. Massey Elementary and the School of Technology off of Main Street is some of the most coveted by developers, but board members also didn’t tolerate discussion of selling that land.
“Where else would you find property in Lincolnton?” asked Jean Dellinger, chairman of the Board of Education. “We do not see selling any of this property.”

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