A soybean field near Carroll Middle School will soon make way for a new school.
Northwest Allen County Schools announced the site of its eighth elementary school Monday during a board meeting, at which the five members unanimously approved a $1.4 million real estate purchase agreement for a 98-acre property along Hathaway Road.
Voters approved the school through a $33.98 million referendum in May.
Words cannot adequately describe the district's appreciation of the sellers, Wayne and Linda Boyd, who agreed to a cost less than appraised value, Superintendent Chris Himsel said.
“We are very appreciative of having a community member willing to work with us to find common ground on a mutually agreeable price,” Himsel said.
With the sellers as mindful of maximizing taxpayer dollars as Northwest Allen is, Himsel said, this is more than a transaction. It's “clearly a commitment to future generations,” he said.
Next steps include a title search, legal description and other filings, according to the district. Groundbreaking could happen as early as this fall. Construction bids are projected to be obtained in October.
The school, which is modeled after Eel River and Cedar Canyon elementary schools, is targeted to open for the 2020-21 academic year on the north side of Hathaway Road between Bethel Road and Indiana 3, or Lima Road. It should have capacity for 500 to 600 students.
The district's existing elementary buildings need the relief a new school will provide. Elementary school enrollment has increased by more than 500 students since Eel River opened nearly a decade ago, and projections indicate the enrollment trend will continue.
Portable classrooms are among the methods Northwest Allen has used to accommodate growth. Huntertown Elementary School added two portable classrooms last academic year. This year, additional units will bring the temporary classroom space to four.
The site also gives the district flexibility to address future growth, Himsel said.
With proximity to Carroll Middle and Eel River, the location helps the district maximize resources, he said, noting a fiber optics network line already runs along the parcel.
“While this property was not our first choice, this location's proximity to both middle schools and centralized within the district's growth is definitely a positive,” board President Kent Somers said.