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USC board picks site for school

By Staff | Jun 24, 2012

Above, an aerial view shows the site for the proposed United South Central school roughly outlined in red.

United South Central School District officials have selected a site for a proposed new multi-million dollar school.

School Board members approved two options to purchase agreements for 63 acres at their meeting held Tuesday night.

The location is south of Wells on the west side of Highway 22 behind Weber Construction.

Superintendent Jerry Jensen says he and members of the district’s building and grounds committee worked several months negotiating with the landowners.

“It’s a fantastic site. We looked at other locations, but this made the most sense,” he says. “It is fairly level, there is infrastructure already put in by the city, the property has three roads for access and it is within the city limits.”

Forty of the acres are owned by Duane Johnson and Brenda (Steve) Johnson, while the other 23 acres belong to Dolores Weber and her children.

The district will pay $14,900 an acre, with the Johnsons receiving $1,000 in “earnest money” and the Webers $575.

“I think the landowners made an effort to be fair to the school district,” says Jensen, explaining that some districts have spent more for land to build a school.

Architects hired by the district have developed preliminary designs that show a minimum of 47 acres is needed for a 155,000-square-foot facility to house 750 students in grades K-12 and athletic facilities.

Jensen says the site allows for future expansion, if needed.

The parties will be able to keep the “earnest money” if the bond referendum for $28.825 million to build the school is not approved by voters on Aug. 14.

District officials have completed an eight-page informational mailing that will be sent out to residents at the end of this month.

“It’s been delivered to the printer. Hopefully it will have enough information so people know what is going on,” says Jensen.

Public meetings to explain the project and tax impact to property owners have been scheduled at 7 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

July 9, Gordon Hansen Auditorium in United South Central High School;

July 10, Kee Theatre in Kiester;

July 12, Bricelyn Community Center;

July 16, Freeborn City and Township Building;

July 17, Walters Community Center;

July 18, Easton Community Center.