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Search continues for elementary school lot

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By Mallory Bilger

The Spencer County Board of Education continues its lengthy search for land to build a new elementary school, and the situation is becoming somewhat desperate.
Shut down at each turn, the board has considered numerous properties that have either been deemed too expensive, a bad location for a school building, lacking proper access to sewers or a myriad of other hurdles that are elongating the search that has now lasted more than five years. While the clock ticks, the existing elementary school population grows. The only external force that has allowed the district to wait this long is a lull in population growth in Spencer County, which is expected to pick back up in the coming years.
The board moved at a special work session last week to revisit a piece of property that it considered more than four years ago at 101 McAllister Lane off Ky. 44. The board moved to have the land appraised, but that is the only action it took. The parcel is approximately 25 acres, but the school board is only interested in 15 acres. The site has a vacant bedford stone home and several outbuildings and has sewer access. The 10-acre portion of land with the home on it is currently listed at $299,900 and the listing notes that additional land is available. According to a 2010 site review conducted by the Kentucky Department of Education, in conjunction with local officials and the Kentucky Department of Highways, the land at 101 McAllister Lane was deemed “a good location for a future school having current access from the property via a county road to Highway 44, and with good prospects for a second access to Highway 44 direct from the property.”
The board also moved recently to have property at the Spencer County Industrial Park off Ky. 44 appraised, but the board has yet to have any further public discussion about that land.
The board of education recently noted in Superintendent Chuck Adams’ evaluation that “with expected growth in the student population, we would like to renew efforts to make progress on the elementary project.”
When the board does locate a piece of property, it plans to build a new 600-student capacity elementary school building with space for another 600-student facility on the site. The proposed building would have two preschool classrooms, 24 elementary classrooms, one special education room, six elementary resource rooms, one art room, one music room, one computer room, a library/media center, a space for physical education and a site-based decision making council allotment space. Other areas include the administrative area, custodial receiving, family resource, kitchen and cafeteria. The building is expected to be approximately 48,645 square feet.