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School system buys land for future growth

January 14, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - After discussing it in the past behind closed doors, members of the Berkeley County Board of Education voted Monday night to buy four building lots and one acre beside Gerrardstown Elementary School.

The board will pay $119,000 for the land, which totals about two acres and includes two houses.

One of the houses, a single-story three-bedroom rancher, most likely will be converted into classroom space after some interior walls are torn down, said Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon.

Buying the land allows school officials an expansion opportunity since no other land around the school is suitable for an addition, Arvon said. Without this land, should the student population increase too much, a new school would have been necessary, he said.

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"By buying those lots today, we'll save the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars," Arvon said. "How many times does property connected to a school become available?"

The land, which is to the left of the school, is flat and usable for construction. A 33-percent addition to the existing school would be possible, Arvon said.

School officials plan to close on the purchase in a couple of weeks, Arvon said. The money will come from a discretionary fund, which had a carryover from last year, Arvon said.

If not used for classroom space, the house could be used for counseling, speech or English as a second language class space. It will probably open to students in late spring, Arvon said.

A second house on the land will be torn down, Arvon said.

Board members unanimously approved the purchase.

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