“We may be going back to square one. We currently don’t know what is going to happen with COVID-19, with education in the future,” Stevens said. “We’ve had it (the land) 30 years. What’s another few more years?”
School boards attempting to build a new Tippecanoe High School in the 1990s and early 2000s looked at a Michaels Road area site south of town but a bond issue failed twice. Voters later accepted a proposal to build the new school on the north side off Kessler-Cowlesville Road.
If the board decided to sell the land, the district by state law would first have to offer it to a charter school, if there is one local. A search by attorneys did not identify any charter, Stevens said. The land then could not be sold privately but would have to be offered by auction. At least two parties have expressed interest in some of the property in recent years.
The piece of property for which interest most recently was expressed was purchased in 1987 for the land lab and has a deed restriction on sale for 50 years, Stevens sad.
Board President Theresa Dunaway said she was not interested in the land being sold for housing. “If we sell this land and they put in more homes and we are still trying to build new buildings, my personal opinion is we don’t need more homes right now,” she said.
“Holding onto that land will increase the value and adds to the board’s options for building,” said board member Joellen Heatherly. “It doesn’t have to be elementary schools, it could be other use.”
Other board members agreed. “It is not on my agenda at this time to sell property,” said member Simon Patry.
If someone interested in the future approaches the district, the board could later revisit the issue, Dunaway said.
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