108 South Kanawha St.

Upshur BOE to acquire property adjacent to Buckhannon Academy playground to increase student safety

TENNERTON – Everyone is concerned with student safety, so Upshur County Board of Education and Upshur County Schools administrators have been looking for ways to keep students safe.

To that end, during Tuesday’s Upshur County BOE meeting, members voted unanimously, following an executive session of approximately 15 minutes, to purchase a property located at 108 South Kanawha St. in Buckhannon.

Following the executive session, Upshur County BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples asked for someone to speak about the necessity of the purchase of the property at 108 South Kanawha St. Upshur County Schools Financial Director Jeffrey Perkins said the property is adjacent to BAES and is located at the corner of Victoria and Kanawha Streets.

“The property is adjacent to our playground and current facilities and as we look forward to attempting to secure the block for greenspace for the students at Buckhannon Academy (Elementary School) this is one of the properties that will be necessary to do that,” Perkins said. “The property became available on the market and we have negotiated with the owners on different ideas and came up with a price of $300,000. The appraisal came in at $320,000.”

Perkins went on the explain that when looking for funds to purchase the property, Upshur County Schools administrators talked about using funding they obtained from other rental properties as a portion of the cost.

“We will use that along with the $287,000 that Upshur County was awarded as a bonus for the increase in enrollment last year,” Perkins said. “That money comes with no ties to it and it is at our discretion how we improve our school system with those funds.”

Perkins said the reason for the acquisition of the property is for the safety of students.

“We are concerned about the highway – the playground is next to the highway (Route 20/Kanawha Street) — and this would allow us to put a parking area on that side of the building and move the play and recreation area away from the highway,” Perkins said.

Upshur County BOE member Patrick Long made a motion to purchase the property at 108 South Kanawha St. and the motion received a second from Upshur County BOE Vice President Jan Craig, who also asked for clarification that no excess school levy funds would be used to purchase the property. Perkins said that was correct – that no excess school levy funds would be used to purchase the property.

BOE members voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the property at 108 South Kanawha St.

On Friday, however, the BOE announced a special meeting set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, which included an agenda item listed as ‘Real Estate Property Listed at 108 S. Kanawha St. / Discussion and possible action.’ In response to My Buckhannon’s inquiries, Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said Friday that the board was finalizing some details in the purchase agreement that ‘may impact the final decision’ regarding 108 S. Kanawha St.

The board is also considering purchasing property at 11 East Victoria Street.

Check back with My Buckhannon to see who was honored with Upshur Stars and other pertinent business actions during their Tuesday meeting.

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