BOE considers property purchase

Board President Tammy Samples

BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Board of Education met for a special session on Tuesday at the Title I Office Conference Room.  Vice-President Katie Loudin requested an executive session for the board to discuss possible action regarding option to purchase property on Route 20.  After approximately 22 minutes, the meeting went back into regular session. 

At that time, Loudin made a motion that the BOE pursue an option to purchase agreement with The New Community Church, owners of the property on Route 20 connected to the Hawkenberry Farm property.  All board members were in agreement. 

The board is not ready to purchase the property yet, but will pursue the option.  They plan to negotiate the purchase of nine acres adjacent to the 116.37 acre Hawkenberry Farm that the BOE previously purchased in 2010, which is across from the Buckhannon-Upshur High School.  Loudin said, “We are trying be fiscally responsible is what we are trying to do. I think that we just need to make sure we have our ducks in a row financially.”

When asked about potential uses for the property, President Tammy Samples stated, “We are going to have to build a school in the next few years because the middle school is deteriorating.”  In the past, there was discussion of building a new school at the Hawkenberry Farm, but that plan was halted when the new school bond was defeated.  Alan Suder mentioned that they do still have a very nice facility plan that was created by Williams and Shriver from when they were considering building a new school.  Moving the bus garage to the Hawkenberry Farm property and also expanding with a high tunnel for the vocational and agricultural programs were other ideas that have previously been considered for utilization of the property.  The board agreed that there are many possibilities.

Dr. Greenbrier Almond stated, “We are beginning to look at our 10-year plan right now again.”  Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus added, “We are starting the CEFP and that’s the facilities plan for 10 years, so now we will be asking our community stakeholders to give input about what they want for their schools and the plan for the next 10 years in this community.  So we look forward to hearing from folks.”

The next item on the agenda was discussion of the Superintendent’s contract, but no action was to take place.  Loudin made a motion to enter executive session again for the discussion and Wilkerson seconded the motion, with all members in agreement.  The meeting was thereafter adjourned.

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