Board chooses new school site in South Point

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 1, 2000

SOUTH POINT – South Point students will have a school campus with a view if residents approve a 4.

Tuesday, February 01, 2000

SOUTH POINT – South Point students will have a school campus with a view if residents approve a 4.84-mill property tax levy in the March primary election.

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At a special meeting Tuesday, South Point Board of Education members approved a site north of U.S. 52 between South Point and Burlington for a new high school and consolidated elementary school.

The required bond levy will provide $7.1 million in local matching funds to $23.4 million in state building assistance funding to construct the new schools, as well as to renovate the current high school into a middle school. The measure failed in the November election.

The selected site would be on a wooded hilltop overlooking the highway and the Ohio River, said Dick Sullivan, Committee for Bettering South Point Schools treasurer.

"Personally, I think this is one of the most beautiful spots in the county to build a school," Sullivan said. "It could be one of the prettiest spots in the county. It definitely has to be a plus."

And it’s cost effective, said Gary Morrison, Site Selection Committee co-chairman.

"The site is 145 acres," Morrison said. "There’s room for future expansion. It’s cost efficient and centrally located."

The site will cost the district $285,000, which is less than the budgeted $1 million. Unfortunately, the site will call for major preparation, which will include tree removal and site leveling, Morrison said.

The other sites would have cost the district more, however. The committee’s second choice was a 60-acre area on Sand Road. The cost would have been $1 million without preparation work and it would pose environmental concerns with its close proximity to the former South Point Ethanol Plant and potential industrial park, officials said.

Although the selected site does need extensive preparation work, district architect Randy Miller does not see it as a huge problem.

"The area would be on top of the hill," Miller said. "That would be your best bet and involve knocking down some upper areas. There’s going to be some cost involved in getting rid of the hills, but the location and overall expandability will be a good bet."

The next step is getting the Ohio School Facilities Commission to approve the site, and given the other options, Waggoner does not think that will be a problem.

"It’s our desire to get this passed," Waggoner said.

And the more than 40 residents who attended the special meeting want to see that happen.

"I like the area," said Jack Wheeler, whose wife teaches at the middle school. "Jokingly, about six weeks ago, I drove past the area and said it would be a good place to build a school."

"I like the fact that it’s off by itself and I like that it has a lot of good fresh air. I think the site is going to be good for a lot of reasons."

And the district definitely needs new schools, said Roslyn Bradburn, who has a 10th-grader in the district.

"We need new schools in order to keep up with the way the world’s going," Mrs. Bradburn said. "You’ve got to have everything available to you or you’ll be behind. If you’ve got a child without access to the web, you’re stifling them – holding them back I want everything accessible to them like there is in city schools."

Other potential school sites included one near Burlington Elementary School, which would have cost more than $2 million for 18 acres; a site near R.H. Peter’s, which has heavy traffic, high preparation costs and is not centrally located; the Boggs property, which has already been sold to another buyer; and the South Point Ethanol property, which has environmental concerns, deed restrictions and is unavailable until the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency releases the property.

Site Selection Committee members are co-chairmen Gary Morrison and Charles Austin, and David Hamm, Mike Patrick, Dave Milem, Chuck Maynard, John Singley, Jan Keatley, Sissy Johnson, Percy Foxwell, Darin Dillow, Rocky McCoy, Ray Bailey, Tom Davidson, Chris Lester, Bill Morrison, Rick Waggoner, Sandee Benson, Bill Rose, Glen Seagraves, Glenn Adkins, Bernie Belville, Terry Blake and Bob Armstrong.