Bids for timbering and clearing will soon be going out for 10 to 12 acres of land off Hwy. 280, next to the Lanier Primary School.
The Board of Education approved a motion, made by District 2 representative Billy Mock, in a 4-3 vote during Tuesday’s called meeting.
"If this isn’t done soon, I’m afraid it’ll be ignored," Mock said. "Down in Richmond Hill, there are terrible traffic jams. It’s bad now and only going to get worse. I don’t want to see that happen in the north end of the county by the circle of schools in Pembroke."
Lanier Primary School currently sits on 42 acres of district land, Mock said.
"If we build another school, I think we should consider that area," he said. "I’d like to see 10 or 12 acres of that land cleared and cleaned up. Before we build, this will prepare the land so it’s ready and will already have a nice landscape."
Mock said the timber on the acreage should bring in roughly $2,100 per acre and clearing will run about $2,000 per acre. Mock also noted in his motion that they should select several bigger, shade trees to be saved during the clearing process.
"It’s good property to clear and beautify the school system," he said. "A new school in North Bryan should go there, not in Pembroke…I know what my end of the county wants."
Board Chairman Eddie Warren pointed out that Mock appeared to be bringing up two separate issues – one, of where a new school in North Bryan should go, and two, the clearing of the land next to LPS.
But the motion, "To get bids to cut and sell timber, clearing 10 to 12 acres next to Lanier Primary School, leaving good shade trees, before the August meeting," was approved. Jeff Morton seconded and Warren and Joe Pacenka voted in favor of the motion. Pacenka noted it couldn’t hurt to send out bids and find out more information on the possibility of the site.
On the opposing side, Mary Warnell said timber is currently at a historically low price, while the price for clearing is still high and the district would likely lose money in the endeavor. Judy Crosby pointed out that the state has to evaluate land before approving it as a potential school site and Vice Chair Frances Meeks recommended the issue be tabled and the board see the site before approving the motion.
"I don’t understand what the rush is – is it that you want this done before you get off the board?" Meeks asked Mock, noting she could understand that, if it was the case.
Mock said his leaving the board was the motive behind his push to get bids out this month, so he can see it done before he leaves his seat at the end of 2008.
Superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer pointed out "the potential is there" to add another school, but the need is not.
"We have added no new teachers in North Bryan schools in the 08-09 budget, so it’s not growing yet," she said. "We added 20 new teachers in Richmond Hill, but none in North Bryan."
Once the board receives bids, they can choose to approve one or not to accept any.