Lauderdale County school board considering property purchase

The Lauderdale County school board has an opportunity to purchase 12 acres of property abutting that of the central office campus.

Eight acres are owned by Noland England and the other 4 acres are owned by Phil Baggett. It fronts Lauderdale 61 and Beamon Drive, respectively. It is not in the Florence city limits.

School board members discussed the property during a work session this week and agreed negotiations for purchasing the land should begin immediately, beginning with appraisals of the two tracts.

The board is expected to discuss the issue in greater detail Thursday at a 2:30 p.m. work session and regular meeting at 3 p.m. The meeting will be in the conference room of the board of education office.

Lauderdale assistant superintendent Tim Tubbs said he will be talking to the land owners today in an effort to get more details but, “these are just two great pieces of property that we just need to look into. It would be a mistake not to.”

Both tracts of land extend to Hough Road.

Board members agreed it would make sense to secure the property, if financially feasible.

“We just need to look to the future and investigate this thoroughly,” said board member Jerry Fulmer.

The asking price for the 8-acre tract is $1 million. The asking price of the 4 acres has not been disclosed, however in 2013 it appraised for $803,000.

Board members agreed appraisals for both properties should be sought immediately.

Board president Ronnie Owens said the school board “isn’t locked into any timeline with this, nor are we trying to be in the land business.”

Owens said the school board will be financially limited in what it can offer for the property.

“We’ll make an offer and if it happens fine, and if not, that’s OK, too,” he said.

Owens said the board doesn’t have any firm ideas on what to use the property for, but the acquisition would open up options to consider.

With a new career technical center in the discussion stages, he said the property could be a consideration for that facility.

“Would it be financially and economically feasible there, I don’t know, but we’d certainly want to look into the possibility,” Owens said. “We support the (proposed) agri-business center and are also on record as considering building a new career technical center on that property.”

That property is located off U.S. 72 and has been proposed as the site of a new 10,000-seat multipurpose arena with adjoining property that could be occupied by Northwest-Shoals Community College operations and the Lauderdale school system.

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