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PE School Board Contributes Land

PRINCE EDWARD – It may be a short window to get the alternate Route 628 project underway, but the County's school board agreed to do its part to clear the path for development.

The school board, following a lengthy discussion, agreed to convey 3.378 acres of property to the County at its December 7 meeting.

County Supervisors, in their November 17 meeting, laid the groundwork by approving a series of motions to construct the new access road just south of the current Route 628 intersection on Route 15 South of Farmville. The new access road would provide a separate access point across from the intersection at Lowe's and the County's business park east and reconnect to the existing Route 628 beyond the school system's bus garage.

Supervisors also agreed to accept a base bid and one alternate of Haymes Brothers of Chatham, but there are time constraints.

“Their bid is contingent upon them being able to do that job in one construction year. So we have to award the contract no later than January 16…so that they can complete that in one year. If it goes past that, then their price goes up because they'd have to winter the project and then come back and redo some work,” detailed County Administrator Wade Bartlett in a presentation to the school board.

The County Administrator also explained that they would have to prove to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) that the County has control of all of the land before they issue the certificate to move forward with the revenue sharing project.

The school's contribution is a small piece of the puzzle for the new access road. County officials must still work things out with private property owners along what would be site of the new road.

Supervisors at their November meeting also authorized the County Administrator and County Attorney to proceed with the acquisition of the property and the easements by consent or condemnation proceedings to obtain legal rights to enter the respective properties needed to relocate the existing utilities and to construct the Route 628 roadway project.

“…We've got to do some legal issues with the private entity and we will do that on Tuesday (today)-that's on our agenda. After that, we'll immediately move to quick take that property. That's the plan,” Bartlett said.

School Board Discussion

Bartlett, in his presentation outlining the need for the school's property, said he did not think it will impact any future needs of the school because of the location of a stream and wetlands. He also reported that the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) was also meeting to convey a portion of property.

School Board Chairman Russell Dove, reflecting that there was a plan that included a possible high school when then-Superintendent Dr. Margaret Blackmon was here. Dove said he would like to “have a chance to review how that will impact that.”

The school board, after some discussion, approved the land transfer with the passing of a resolution. Dove cast the lone abstention.

And, while there was some thought about seeking three acres from the county in what essentially would be a swap, the County will maintain about 27 acres near the school site, which Bartlett offered is large enough to accommodate either a high or middle school. The board of supervisors would have had to approve the exchange and Bartlett noted that he could not speak for the board. However, he noted, the land has “always been meant for school processes.”