Still holding out hope the school system will opt to buy 10 acres of high-priced land that surrounds the expansion of Irving College School, County Commissioner Randy England elicited the county road department for help in building a second access road leading from the school to the highway.
“They’re trying to put five pounds of peanut butter into a one-pound can,” England said of the Irving College renovation and expansion in his district.
The School Board has refused to vote on the idea of buying 10 acres of remote land at a price of $15,000 per acre as part of campus expansion. Most School Board members feel the asking price is too high, although supporters of the land purchase point out the school system has paid way above fair market value in the past. Supporters of buying the land say the expansion will barely fit inside the present campus and that more land would allow for a bus road going to Highway 56.
It was the desire for a second road that prompted England, who is a member of the Highway and Bridge Committee, to ask Road Superintendent Levie Glenn about the possibility of getting county help to build such a road. While locked out of getting the funding for the extra land now, England is hopeful the school system will change its mind and buy the land, thereby making the second road a possibility.
“Could the Warren County Highway Department help with the road if we bought the land later?” England asked during the Highway and Bridge Committee meeting Thursday.
Glenn, while pledging his department would do what it could to aid the school, said he doesn’t have the equipment to build the road from scratch. However, he said they would be glad to maintain the road once it’s built and do what grading they can.
Fellow committee member Gary Prater interjected that building such roads is usually the work of the contractor who does the school project and the contractor has to work with the Tennessee Department of Transportation since it would involve tying in with a state highway.
“It’s sad they can’t buy the land right now,” Prater said, noting it would be easier and cheaper if the road England is wanting was built along with the present expansion project.
Prater also pointed out the Highway Department is busy maintaining the roads it has and shouldn’t be pulled off its work to build a road from scratch.
“When I started on the commission, there were a couple hundred miles of gravel road,” Prater said. “Now most is paved. They road department has done a great job and now they will be taking on 11 or 12 miles of extra road with Old Nashville Highway being handed off to the county.”