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Wake Schools Taking a Long View of Land Needs

Posted February 13, 2007

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— The Wake County Public School System is looking at a plan to get ahead of expansion before it gets closed out altogether: buy land now for schools later.

Development drives the need to open more schools as the population grows. Schools have to be built someplace, however, and the district finds itself competing against that development for land.

School board members Tuesday tossed around one suggestion: buy 10 percent of the undeveloped land in the county now so they will have somewhere to build schools later.

The bottom line from the school system’s Real Estate and Facilities departments is that Wake County is not rural anymore. If the schools don't start planning for 10, 15, even 20 years down the road, there may not be any land left.

The school system calls it land banking. Officials are looking at undeveloped parcels between 20 and 60 acres.

In the short term, the board heard proposals Tuesday to buy land for another 13 schools. To meet all their projected needs by 2025, they say they will need at least 80 more large pieces of land.

The school system contracted with the Operations Research and Education Laboratory at NC State to develop a long-range school plan.
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