The school system buys additional land

The Warren County School System will purchase 12 acres of land adjoining Hickory Creek Elementary School, but plans for the property are undecided.

County commissioners approved an amendment at the last county commission meeting allocating additional funds to purchase the land across from Hickory Creek. Before voting, Commissioner Scott Rubley asked the Principal of Schools, Dr Grant Swallows, to clarify.

“We have been negotiating for several months on this property just across from Hickory Creek. It’s at 1022 Vervilla Road and it’s the 12 acres just across Hickory Creek to the right as you look at our high school security shack,” Swallows said.

At a Budget and Finance Committee meeting in May, Swallows explained that there was a special deed of security on the property that they weren’t thrilled about. The owners wanted the property to be sold with the stipulation that it would only be used for educational purposes, but that would put the school system in a bind if the property did not work and they had to sell it. Negotiations continued and an agreement was reached.

“We originally entered into an agreement about six months ago to purchase this land and the school board agreed to purchase this land for $325,000, of which $100,000 will be donated to the school system,” Swallows said. “Over the past few months, some things have been added to that. There was a special warranty deed added and we weren’t as interested in the property with that special warranty deed attached. When I last spoke to Financial Management we thought the deal was dead but after some negotiation we are happy to say we are in agreement again and the school board has voted to purchase this land .

Buying the land was a priority for the school system because it is currently zoned commercial, and Swallows says there is no need for commercial properties near WCHS and Hickory Creek.

“Really, it’s just important for us to have that land right there because it’s commercially zoned right now and we wouldn’t want a commercial property to be that close to our school system. At the end of the day, that’s why we buy it and we’re grateful to have it and grateful to them for giving us the money,” Swallows said.

Commissioner Tyrone Sparkman asked if this property could help with the traffic situation, and Swallows says they are looking into the possibility.

“Initially that was something we were going to look at with this property. Ultimately with Vervilla Road it’s difficult and with this property even if you bring traffic back to Vervilla Road there’s still going to be a lot traffic there and on Morrison Street. We’ll look into it, but I’m not making any promises,” Swallows said.

Jeremy S. McLain