School Board votes to buy land for school complex

Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2002

DELTA JUNCTION (AP) -- Despite being unhappy with the offer, the Delta/Greely School Board has unanimously voted to buy 37 acres of Mental Health Trust land to build a school complex.

The board last week voted 6-0 to pay $144,000 for the land.

''I don't like the price,'' board member Michael Schultz said. But he said that for the long-term good, the district should ''go ahead and pay too much for it.''

The cost also upset Superintendent Dan Beck, who said the school district should ask the Legislature for $44,000 in addition to the $100,000 lawmakers have already provided for the land.

''Maybe next time they see someone from Mental Health Trust they'd nail them to the wall,'' Beck said.

Alison Smith, senior resource manager for the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office, said the agency sells property at 120 percent of the appraised value to help fund mental health programs.

Schools, hospitals and municipalities are allowed to buy trust land without a competitive bid process.

''We treat them fairly and get fair market value,'' Smith said. ''We think it's a win-win.''

The board's decision puts in motion a plan to build three separate but connected schools. Plans call for constructing an elementary school first. The oldest part of Delta School was built in 1960 with various additions made over the next 20 years.

The school district has $3.5 million in federal impact funds in hand, with an additional $5.4 million expected in the next two years for the schools. The money comes from the Ground-based Midcourse Defense missile project at Fort Greely.

School officials have said it is likely that the Fort Greely School will reopen in the fall for grades six through eight. The school has been closed since May 2000.

The district has $300,000 from the Legislature to buy modular units for the school or otherwise provide additional classroom space.

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