Commissioners Approve Land Purchase For New Cleveland-Area Middle School

Johnston County Commissioners have approved the purchase of a tract of land near the intersection of Norris Road and Lee Road for the construction of a new Cleveland-area middle school.

School Board Chairman Larry Strickland appeared before Johnston County Commissioners Monday evening asking for approval to more forward with the purchase, which would be the seventh school in the Cleveland area.   

The school board has an option on a tract of land up to 45 acres at a cost of $15,300 per acre.  Strickland told Commissioners if the school can be situated on 40 acres the cost would be $618,000 but if the full 45 acres were needed the land purchase would cost $660,000.

Strickland said he was very pleased with the price negotiated for the property. During the land purchases for the last 6 Cleveland area schools built, the average price per acre was $15,976.

The last school bond referendum approved by voters included $750,000 for land for the new school. 

While officials were able to save money on the land cost, there will be the added expense of extending water and sewer service to the site. The nearest connection is about 7300 feet away. The projected price to extend those lines is $580,000.

Commissioner Allen Mims asked if there would be any additional costs for grading.  School officials said the backside of the lot falls off sharply but the front side is very high.  There will be grading required but at no extra cost. 

Commissioner Ted Godwin asked if the grading would cause any storm water runoff issues for adjacent properties. He was assured there would be no issues.

The NC Department of Transportation has already reviewed the area where the school would be built and has given their okay.

Strickland said he hopes the purchase can be completed quickly and construction started on the new middle school in the near future.