Yancey County School Board Purchases Land for New Elementary School
At the special, called school board meeting on Monday, December 19th, the Yancey County School Board voted 5-0 to purchase a 30-acre tract of land near the Cane River Middle School.
The school board has completed all required tests for the land, including a boundary survey, topographical survey, and soil boring and rock tests, all of which came back with excellent results. A Phase I Environmental Impact Study has also been conducted to determine what impact building on the site might have on the environment. The results of this study did not reveal any environmental issues associated with building a school on this property. Another concern that has been associated with this piece of land is the Native American village and artifacts that have been found in the area. Over the years, tests and archeological digs have revealed where the artifacts are located. The North Carolina Office of State Archeology has determined that the property can be built upon, with the exception of a small area near the river, beside the Yancey County Humane Society. The rest of the tract has been approved for a school building and ballfield.
For the past few months, several sites on the west-end of the county have been considered as possible options for the new elementary school. Tests, studies, and legal and architectural assurances have revealed that the site across from the Cane River Church is the best option. The location allows the school to be added to the county water line running alongside the land; the size of the lot is large enough to build a school that is projected to house 350-375 students; there is room for visitor, staff, and bus parking; the view around the school will be appealing; and the site is large enough to build a multi-purpose, student ballfield.
At the meeting, school board attorney, Mr. Donny Laws, reported the results of his title search and all other related legal requirements. Mr. Laws noted that there was nothing to prevent the school board from purchasing the 30 acres of land for the new elementary school, and recommended that the board proceed with the purchase. Mr. Mike Cox, project architect, informed the school board that based on test results, location of the site, and the lay of the land, this site would make one of the best locations to build a school that he has seen in several years.
After negotiations, the 30-acre site was priced to the school system at $750,000 by the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Bill and Judy Riddle. The land was not on the market to sell; however, the Riddles were willing to sell their land to Yancey County Schools as a site that would help the students of Yancey County Schools have a new elementary school. Over the last few decades, school boards have gradually set aside money to be used for the purchase of land for a new school.
According to Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton, “There are several different areas of 19E that the new school will be visible from. This land should make a beautiful and functional location for the new, west elementary school.” “Now that the site has been determined,” said Chairman Mike Orr, “the board can focus its attention on designing a building that will match the beauty and function of the site.”