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Commissioners unanimously back land purchase for proposed school

A new middle school in the Stoney Creek Community came one step closer to reality when members of the Carter 1A-PropertyA-3x4-300x214County Commission voted unanimously to give the school system the green light to buy property for the proposed school.
Carter County Director of Schools Kevin Ward approached the Budget Committee of the County Commission last week during its meeting and asked the Commission to approve the purchase of the property at a cost of $200,000, through the use of money already in the school system’s budget from referendum funds. The committee approved that request and Committee Chairman Harry Sisk presented the request to the full Commission on Monday.
The property in located on Highway 91 adjacent to what is being called the Frank Shaffer property, which currently houses STL Distribution.
Ward reported to the commission that the property is approximately 7 acres and is in a prime location because to its proximity to the schools it would serve, and also because of the utilities already present at the property. The property has access to a sewer line, natural gas and has a six-inch water line, which would be required for the fire suppression system in the new school building.
“It is a very good location,” Ward said.
According to Ward, the new middle school would house grades 5 through 8 and would be fed from Keenburg, Hunter and Unaka elementary schools.
“This will eliminate 21 of the 48 modulars currently in use at the schools,” Ward said. “It’s not quite half, but is’s a good chunk.”
The creation of the middle school would also serve to ease crowding at the elementary schools that would feed into the new middle school.
Commissioner Nancy Brown asked about community response to the proposed project. Commissioner Buford Peters, who serves as a commissioner in the First District, where the new school would be located, said he has not heard any negative comments about the project in the community.
“Everything we have heard has been positive,” Peters said.
The motion to approve the purchase of the property by the school system using the referendum funds already in the system’s budget was made by Sisk and was seconded by Commissioner Steve Lowrance, who chairs the Commission’s Education Committee. The motion passed without a dissenting vote.
Core samples have already been completed on the property. Ward reported in the Budget Committee meeting last week that the report received by the school system on the core samples said that the property was suitable for construction of a new school.
The school system has been working with Tony Street, of the architectural firm Beeson, Lusk and Street, on designs for the new school.