Pasco school officials are considering selling 41 acres that officials say can’t be used to build schools.
Three of the four parcels are near Court Street and roads 48 and 52. The other is near Burns Road. The public can voice their opinions about the sale during a May 9 public hearing.
While officials know the property is worth more than $70,000, an appraisal is in the works to confirm it.
The district worked with the city and consultants to pick the properties, said Randy Nunamaker, the district’s executive director of operations.
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The roughly 20 acres near Court Street was purchased in the 1960s before the flight paths around the Tri-City Airport were established. Now portions of the property are in the outer approach and departure zone around the airport.
County codes, which are based on Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, allow residences, but prohibit “places of public assembly,” such as schools, churches, hospitals and shopping centers.
The land is further divided by a corridor of land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, which is designated as a flood zone.
“(That area) would either have to be a playground or something that would not have a structure on it,” Nunamaker said. “It really restricts what we can do on that site.”
As nice as that property is closer to Central Pasco, it’s just not going to work. There is better land out there than the one behind Franklin
Amy Phillips, Pasco school board
Roughly 20 acres next to Franklin Elementary don’t serve the district’s plans anymore, Nunamaker said.
The land was originally part of a 40-acre parcel that would have held a middle school if a 2011 bond proposal passed. The district’s plans changed with the passage of the 2013 bond, and it became the site of the new elementary school.
While the district could put a school on the property, it would serve an area already served by Franklin and McClintock elementaries, Nunamaker said.
The money from selling the property would go back into the district’s capital fund, which is sitting at a $3.7 million balance. Along with paying for construction projects at the schools, the funds are also used for buying land.
The district owns roughly 80 acres west of Road 100 that can be used for a new high school, 40 acres in the same area that can be used for a middle school, along with land near Chiawana High School that was slated for an elementary school.
Most of the school board supports selling the property.
“As nice as that property is closer to Central Pasco, it’s just not going to work,” Board member Amy Phillips said. “There is better land out there than the one behind Franklin.”