By COLLIN BROOKS
A new Boones Creek school location came a vote away from being a reality during the Washington County Board of Education Meeting on Thursday, June 2.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that site is out of the running.
The vote ended in a 4-4 tie, with Third District member David Hammond unable to vote due to his absence.
Hammond — whose constituents from the Boones Creek district, Clarence Mabe and Mike Masters, each spoke adamantly in favor of the site — said that he was unaware that a site would be up for discussion during the meeting, which he was forced to miss as his wife recovered from a surgery. But he said that he hopes that it might be able to be revisited.
“I couldn’t imagine why it couldn’t be voted on again,” Hammond said.
Hammond wouldn’t say which way he would have voted, but he did say that he voted in favor of the Youngdale Farm site that was selected last year. That is just under two miles down the road from the site that was voted down on Thursday night.
“If you’ll go back a year ago, I did vote for the property that was out in Boones Creek, but it was presented all in one package with the road project and other things, which should have never happened,” Hammond said. “I would have needed the facts from all of the other property before I could intelligently place a vote.”
Masters said that he hopes that the site and any other sites that might be up for question will be revisited during next month’s board meeting, especially with the vote of confidence from the Washington County Commission — which voted to progress with the funding scenario of a new Boones Creek schools .
“I feel like it will (be revisited),” Masters said. “But I am only one vote. I think that we need to take a really hard look at it, especially after the county commission meeting last night. Everyone has their own opinion, but I think it is something that we need to revisit now, since the county has preliminarily agreed upon helping us.”
Masters said he would like the Williams property to be revisited, along with any sites that Tony Street — the architect for the project — sees fit.
The property— on the corner of Boones Creek Road and Highland Church Road — that was voted down has an option on the land for 56 acres with an average cost of $33,482 for a total of $1.875 million. That option runs out on August 18, with a chance to renew for another 90 days, according to the county attorney’s office..
Washington County Board of Education Chairman Todd Ganger said that since the site selection isn’t on the specially called BOE meeting that is scheduled for Thursday, June 9, it cannot be discussed. But he agreed that it is a possibility that it could pop up again.
“I would say anything is possible,” Ganger said.
The other site that was presented to the board by Street during the meeting has been referred to as the Snyder property and is located off of Highway 36 and Freewill Road. That property has five land owners, and two of them — which own a majority of the property — did not want to sign on option for the county. Still, for that 50.9 acre site, a price tag of $117,780 was given per acre, which would come in at just under $6 million.
The other two porperties that were up for discussion, that were not discussed at the June 2 meeting, a site just off of Boones Creek Road and Interstate 26 — which is located in Johnson City — is said to have a gas line that divides the property, making it a hard spot to build. It is currently under option by Boones Creek Investments. The other Williams property, which is across the street from the one that was voted down, has a creek that divides the property.
The next regularly scheduled Washington County Board of Education meeting is set for July 7.”