County BOE approves land purchase
CHARLES TOWN – The Jefferson County Board of Education voted Monday evening to approve a contract for the purchase of 155 acres in Ranson. The land will eventually be developed into a complex housing an elementary, middle and high school.
The land, located at the intersections of Currie Road and W.Va. 115, will be purchased from Bill Strider.
Assistant Superintendent of Maintenance and Planning Ralph Dinges, indicated that the property is ideal in that the majority is flat land.
“We have done due diligence in choosing this property,” Dinges said. “We have performed tests for sink holes, rock and other things,” he continued. “It has previously just been used as farmland.”
Dinges said that construction of anything is still several years in the future. The property will be leased as farmland by the Board until such time as building on the projects can commence.
“The property is in the center of where the county’s proposed growth will occur,” Dinges explained, making it an ideal location for new schools. His anticipation, although not set in stone, is that the first of the three schools constructed would be an elementary school, followed by another high school.
“We are in good shape right now with middle schools,” he said.
The land purchase, Dinges said, is impact fee findable as it addresses growth in the county. Impact fee Funds collected by the Board of Education are to be spent in categories of elementary, middle or high school and since the property will house all three, more funds can be expended than if only one type of school was to be constructed there.
Dinges said that the Board is also communicating with the state School Building Authority which is a potential funding resource for the future construction plans.
“This is a process that took months,” Dinges said.
“We’re looking at three to four years out, probably, before any construction,” Dinges said. He also said that the Board will continue to explore other potential land opportunities as they come up.