Commissioners Pick Own Price for Rolesville School Site
Posted September 4, 2007 6:31 p.m. EDT
Updated September 4, 2007 11:24 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County commissioners on Tuesday approved spending up to $2.6 million to buy a site in Rolesville for a planned middle school – $900,000 less than what the school board agreed to pay.
Rolesville is growing quickly, and the Wake County school system wants to buy 45 acres off Burlington Mills Road for a future middle school. The school board agreed to buy the site for $3.5 million, or about $75,000 an acre.
Recent appraisals valued the land at between $48,000 and $64,000 an acre. So, commissioners decided to compromise and approved spending about $56,000 an acre for the site.
"Right now, that land is not worth $75,000 an acre," said Tony Gurley, chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
District administrators said the board's decision likely means they will lose the site to another buyer. The seller wants an answer by Thursday and probably won't budge from the higher price, they said.
Searching for another site for the middle school could delay the opening of the school by a year, Assistant Superintendent for Facilities Mike Burriss said.
"I'm disappointed, disappointed that total cost factors are not identified in this," Burriss said.
District administrators worked closely with Rolesville officials on the land deal, he said, but commissioners suggested they get more input from towns before bringing items to the board for approval.
The Rolesville deal is the latest rift between the commissioners and the school board over land prices. In June, the commissioners refused to approve the purchase of 32 acres in Apex after two appraisals set the land value at less than half of the district's $8 million purchase price.
"We are slowly losing the trust of the public," Commissioner Joe Bryan said. "They've entrusted this money to us, (and) we don't seem to be able to buy property at what the market says. We always seem to be higher."