RSS board OKs Cleveland property for new school

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — The new western elementary school may finally have found a home. The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to enter a purchase agreement for three parcels of land bordering the current grounds of Cleveland Elementary School.

If everything goes smoothly, the new school would merge Cleveland and Woodleaf elementaries, and would be built behind Cleveland Elementary while the school is still in operation.

The purchase agreement puts the board under contract with a total of $20,000 in earnest money.

Two of the parcels are currently owned by Joe and Elizabeth Corriher, of Charlotte. One parcel is a 19.5-acre tract that borders Mimosa Street. The tract has a market value of $130,007. The board agreed to purchase the parcel for $12,000 per acre, for a rough total of $234,000. The second Corriher parcel borders U.S. 70, and is approximately 7.9 acres. The parcel has a market value of $63,100, and the board agreed to pay $22,500 per acre for a rough total of $177,750.

The board also entered into a purchase agreement with Joe Padgett and Amy Padgett Kreiger for a 2.2-acre plot along Paris Street. The long, narrow plot lies between the current Cleveland Elementary School and the Corriher tracts and has an assessed value of $131,502. The board agreed to purchase the plot for $132,000.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann said the property also contains a house that must be demolished.

For the board, the purchase agreement means that, at long last, the end may be in sight for identifying the location of the future combined elementary school.

“I think it’s somewhat exciting that we’re moving forward, making progress,” board member Dean Hunter said.

The Cleveland location is the third the board has considered this year. Initially, the board was under contract to purchase a parcel of land on the corner of N.C. 801 and Godbey Road, but backed out after community members raised safety concerns. In an effort to find a neutral site between the two communities, the board next tried to pursue a property on Foster Road, but switched tracks a second time after the property owner rejected the offer for a specific 40-acre tract and the neighborhood objected to a school in the vicinity.

Finally, the board settled on Cleveland. Board member Travis Allen, who represents the western part of the county, fought for a neutral site for much of the year but agreed to the Cleveland location after Foster Road fell through. Allen said he was glad there was finally a location for the school, and he was focused on the future.

“We can concentrate on getting it built and getting the kids moved in,” he said.

The board is no longer under contract to purchase Godbey Road, but Vann said he was told by the property owners that the tract may still be available if needed. The board has 90 days to complete due diligence on the Cleveland location, including site and soil tests. The results will determine if the board will close on the properties and how the new school will lie on the land. When asked, Vann said that the current Cleveland building may need to be demolished after construction is complete.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.