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Albemarle School Board to pursue site near Monticello High School for Center II

The Albemarle County School Board voted Thursday to request a deed transfer for a potential site for its next high school center.

The county school system wants to build a 400-student center at 133 Galaxie Farm Lane, a 15-acre parcel that the county has owned since 2000. Over the years, county officials have eyed the property for a number of uses, including as a site for the county’s courts and a trash and recycling center.

Board members Katrina Callsen and Jason Buyaki said the spot, which is near Monticello High School, is not an ideal location for the high school center.

“[But] it’s one of the best options that we have had,” said Callsen, who was the only board member to vote against the resolution.

Buyaki said that while it’s not the best location, “the price is right.”

Since the property is county-owned, the School Board could take control of it without paying for it. The Board of Supervisors has allocated $27 million for the project overall, including $4.9 million for land acquisition.

Criteria for an ideal location included accessibility to the division’s high school facilities, proximity to community partners and cost. Division spokesman Phil Giaramita said division staff officials wanted the new center to stand on its own and have a separate identity from existing schools.

The resolution approved Thursday will go to the Board of Supervisors for its consideration. The supervisors are expected to hold a public hearing on the deed transfer.

Developer Nicole Scro is planning a residential development along Route 20 and Galaxie Farm Lane, near the proposed site, that would have a {span}mix of single-family homes and townhouses.{/span}

The School Board and division officials reviewed a dozen potential locations for the center, which the division is relying on to ease overcrowding at Albemarle and Western Albemarle High schools and to redesign the high school experience.

A pilot high school center, now known as Center I at Seminole Place, opened last school year inside leased space at the old Comdial building, which a mile away from Albemarle High School.

Though close to Monticello High, the Galaxie Farm spot is 17 miles from Western Albemarle, 10 miles from Albemarle High and five miles from Murray High.

Board members conducted a lengthy search for a location that met all the criteria, meeting in closed session to discuss land acquisition more than 25 times since January 2018. The School Board voted to pursue the center model in December 2017.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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