Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

List Whittled on Sites for Two High Schools

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

List Whittled on Sites for Two High Schools

Article excerpt

Chances remain good that northwest St. Johns County will get a

new high school, said St. Johns County School Board member Judy

Krug.

Board members are beginning to whittle a list of potential

sites for two new high schools slated to open in 2000.

Ultimately, the board will decide where to build a high school

in the north part of the county to relieve overcrowding at Nease

High School, and one in the south to relieve crowding at St.

Augustine High School. Board members will also soon pick an

architect to design the two 1,500-capacity schools. The next

step will be to request bids from contractors to actually build

the $47 million schools.

Architectural services are considered professional services and

are not subject to the competitive bid process, said board

member Joe Gordy.

A final vote on sites is slated for July 21.

At a workshop Tuesday, board members learned which sites

proposed by site selection committees in March were buyable and

what it would cost to develop sites.

Overall, all the sites could work, according to planners and

engineers hired to analyze the locations. Development costs were

in the same ballpark and varied most on costs to install

utilities.

Appraisers will provide the actual land costs of each site next

week. These significant costs will be considered as part of some

heavy-duty whittling to take place at a workshop at 9 a.m. July

20. Those costs will make a significant impact on the decision,

school officials said.

Site selection committees recommended sites to the board in

March. Upon further investigation, some owners of the sites

weren't willing to sell. Others offered different, less

desirable, pieces of their land instead. Also, since March, some

new landowners have come forward and offered to sell plots.

The board must choose whether to build the northern high school

in the northwest or northeast part of the county. Thus, the two

regions, in essence, are competing to come up with the best

site.

The northwest area seems to have more options than the

northeast, Krug said.

Northern county parents are watching and waiting.

The area not selected will keep Nease High School as its

neighborhood school.

Palm Valley parent Marcy Silkebaken, who attended Tuesday's

workshop, said she wants her elementary school child to be able

to attend a high school close to home.

"It's a long, dangerous drive to Nease," said Silkebaken. …

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