TROY —Troy City Schools are currently negotiating a contract to purchase 32-acres of land for $475,000 at Swailes and South County Road 25-A as part of its plan to build four new elementary schools if its bond issue passes next March.
On Tuesday, the Troy Board of Education met during a special meeting and voted unanimously to authorize Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper and Treasurer Jeff Price to negotiate for the purchase of property located along Swailes Road.
The property is owned by the John W. Churchill Family Trust and Sharon L. Churchill Inter Vivos Trust of 2002.
The purchase of the 32-acre piece of land for $475,000 will allow the district to move forward with its plan to build four new neighborhood elementary schools. The plan includes three PreK-4 buildings: one at the new site near the corner of Swailes and South County Road 25-A, one on the current site of Cookson Elementary School and one near the current Concord Elementary School site. A new fifth-sixth grade middle school building would be located at the current Hook Elementary School site.
“Today’s a big day for the district,” Piper said in a press release. “We have our final piece of the puzzle as far as our building sites go. So now our course of action is looking toward March and getting an affirmative vote so we can start building all new elementary schools.”
The district has spent months searching for a piece of land in the southern area of Troy to serve southern student population that is growing in that area of the city. Currently, Kyle Elementary School is the southern most building in the district.
“We just secured the last piece of property that we think fits the puzzle to build three Pre-K-fourth building sites and one fifth-sixth grade building across the district,” Board President Doug Trostle said. “Two years ago, we had an initiative on the ballot to build two buildings on a single site, and one of the major concerns of our residents was to maintain a sense of neighborhood schools.”
“A lot of the development in our district has been to the south,” he said. “We’ve never had a building located in that area, so we were very happy to find a piece of property that was suitable, both from access and the footprint to provide the space to build a building and we are very pleased with being able to secure this particular piece of property.”
Trostle said the decision to move forward with a new plan for neighborhood schools was based on feedback the board heard from residents following the defeat of its first bond issue to build two buildings on a single site at Nashville and State Route 55 in 2017. The district previously had a contingent contract for the potential purchase of 58.67 acres at 3054 W. State Route 55 and Nashville Road for $733,375 from the late Don Isern heirs. The November 2017 bond issue was for 4.61-mill levy to build two new elementary schools. The bond issue received 2,684 votes for the project and 4,021 votes against the project. The property was to the west of Kensington and Edgewater developments. That contract expired in December 2017, and the district does not own this property.
“I think we’ve listened to the residents and were out communicating with the residents consistently, and we’ve been told we have a better plan this time that’s more suitable, and I think it’s going to be exciting to have a building on the south side of the district,” Trostle said.
The Troy City Schools will place a 7.04-mills bond issue on the March 17 ballot. If passed, the bond issue would cost homeowners $20.71 monthly per $100,000 in home value.
“There is definitely a need for this,” Piper said. “By purchasing this final piece of land, we can give voters a clear picture of what we are trying to accomplish and where their future elementary schools will be located. The average age of our elementary school buildings is 77 years. We feel this is the right plan at the right time for the right price.”
Last September, the district purchased 19 acres to build a Pre-K-fourth grade building on State Route 718. The property is located at 2811 W. State Route 718, and the purchase price is $375,000. The property owner is Patty Harshbarger.
The property will replace the current Concord Elementary School, which just commemorated its 100th anniversary on its site. Part of the agreement is to allow Harshbarger and her husband Jack Putterbaugh to have a life tenancy to continue to live at the residence located on the property. The parcel is currently in the process of being annexed to the city of Troy.
The State Route 718 property will replace the current Concord Elementary site, which has been plagued with transportation and traffic congestion issues off of McKaig Avenue, Wilson Road and Washington Road.
There are no contingencies of purchase pending the outcome of the district’s bond issue on either the Harshbarger property or the Churchhill property, according to district officials.
According to the district, the pieces of land fit into its new plan for neighborhood schools and the district didn’t want to wait until March 17 and lose the opportunity to buy those pieces of land before that date.
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