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PG School Board purchases land for future school

by Lynn Kutter | September 13, 2023 at 1:46 p.m.
Source: Washington County property records Prairie Grove School Board voted Thursday to purchase this 20 acres for a new school. The land is adjacent to Prairie Grove United Methodist Church and across from Sundowner Estates on East Parks Street.

PRAIRIE GROVE -- In a special meeting Sept. 7, Prairie Grove School Board unanimously voted to purchase 20 acres on East Parks Street for $895,000 or $44,750 per acre. The land will be used for a second elementary school.

The 20 acres are adjacent to Prairie Grove United Methodist Church and across from Sundowner Estates.

A letter of intent to purchase the land shows the seller as Parkwood Estates LLC. This letter is signed by Curtis Stewart as manager/member with Parkwood and by Lance Campbell, superintendent representing Prairie Grove School District as the buyer.

David Kellogg, assistant superintendent, said a geotechnical study of the land came back with good results, and the property already has a survey on file. Kellogg did not have an exact date for closing the transaction but said it should take place in a short time period with Waco Title Co.

Campbell told school board members the district will purchase the land with reserve funds.

Campbell last week said he believes the land on Parks Street is a good location for a new elementary school because of its proximity to residential housing. It's across from Sundowner Estates subdivision and will be close to a new subdivision with more than 500 houses or multi-family units coming in the future off Butler Road.

"This gets 400-500 families off the (current) elementary campus," Campbell said. "Logistically, it's a good location."

He added that the board's decision is a "big step" and the district is moving in the right direction to address student growth.

Campbell said the elementary school has 108 kindergarten students this year. The third grade is the largest at the school with 188 students.

"It's coming (student growth) so that's why we believe we have to have a second elementary school in the future," he said.

The district will apply this fall for state partnership money to help with the cost of a new school, with any money most likely to come during the 2025-27 funding cycle, according to Kellogg.

The school board will consider a resolution at its Sept. 19 meeting in support of the district's six-year master facilities plan that will be submitted to the state's Academic Facilities Partnership Program for 2025-2027. This master plan shows a new kindergarten-fourth grade school.

In the proposed resolution, the School Board resolves that it will dedicate local resources to meet the district's share of a school construction project. If approved, the state's share would be about 50% for what the state considers suitable space.

According to the proposed resolution, the School Board intends to fund the district's share of the cost for a new school through voter approval on a bond or tax measure.

If the district builds a new school, the board will have to go to the community for support, Campbell said.

County property records show the 20 acres on Parks Street was purchased by Sundown Construction LLC in May 2021 for an estimated $450,000. Parkwood Estates became the property owner in August 2021 but the county website does not have any information on an estimate sale price.

The land has been discussed for residential development in meetings with Prairie Grove Planning Commission for more than 1 1/2 years. The latest concept approved by the commission for Parkwood Estates proposed eight single-family lots and 41 townhouse lots (a total of 82 townhouses) for the 20 acres.

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