School district buys land

It was a happy Halloween for the South Kitsap School District (SKSD) on Monday as the district became the official owner of a piece of land that could one day house new school facilities — land it has been in the process of purchasing for the past three years.

SKSD purchased a 56-acre parcel located near the intersection of Old Clifton and Feigley Roads. The purchase-and-sale agreement was approved by the Board of Directors at the April 21, 2003, school board meeting and the agreement required the seller, McCormick Land Co., to complete a comprehensive feasibility study to ensure the property would meet future development needs.

Major needs addressed by the study included the seller’s installation of an off-site stormwater system, utility changes and enhanced roads.

The net purchase price of the land was approximately $1.4 million. No general operating funds were used in the land purchase and all resources for the project will come from the district’s Capital Projects Fund, which is restricted for capital and construction purposes.

“I’m excited that we can now call this property our own,” said SKSD Superintendent Bev Cheney. “We can now focus on our long-range facility needs so that we can better meet the educational needs of our students.”

The limited availability of large potential school sites, escalating land acquisition costs and inflationary infrastructure costs make the purchase of this 56-acre parcel extremely cost effective, district authorities believe.

To construct a high school, approximately 35 to 40 flat, usable acres are required. A junior high school requires approximately 15 to 20 acres. An elementary school requires approximately 10 acres.

Available large land tracts, suitable for school sites (flat with water, sewer accessible) are extremely difficult to find in south Kitsap County, given the limited urban growth area.

Since the price was locked in through negotiations almost three years ago, the property has increased in value. SKSD will initially finance the purchase of the land using developer impact fees to pay the debt service on the loan.

The district is considering a future bond issue as an option to pay off the loan early.

SKSD is currently developing a long-range facilities plan that will address all of the district’s facility needs including possibilities for the new property.

For more information, contact Terri Patton, assistant superintendent for business and support services, at (360) 874-7013.

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