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Lexington 1 to spend $1.6 million on land for middle school

Photo illustration of the 34-acre piece of land Lexington 1 school district voted to purchase for $1.6 million this week, shown on Google Maps.
Photo illustration of the 34-acre piece of land Lexington 1 school district voted to purchase for $1.6 million this week, shown on Google Maps. Isabella Cueto
Lexington 1 school board members approved this week a purchase price of $1.6 million for 34 acres on which to build a replacement for Lexington Middle School.


The board voted for a third time on the land at a May 21 meeting after district administrators recommended they pursue the property. A final vote to close on the property will happen after the district performs due diligence tasks, such as completing a traffic study, geodetic surveys and other tests to ensure the land is fit for a school.


The district is also waiting on two additional pieces of land that the board voted to pursue in March. Altogether, the parcels would total almost 62 acres of land for the school. In March, the district said purchasing the land was contingent upon all four parcels closing at the same time.


The larger parcel, which is 23.57 acres, has an assessed land value of $353,600 and the smaller, 10-acre parcel has an assessed value of $200,000, according to Lexington County property records.


Lexington 1 COO Jeff Salters said the district completed two independent land appraisals, by which administrators calculated a fair price per acre.


Instead of calculating the cost of the land as undeveloped, rural property, which is what the county did, appraisers based the land value on part-commercial, part-residential use, he said.


Salters said $47,500 per acre — the price the board agreed to — is actually less than what the land could have cost the district, according to the independent appraisals.


The land will be used to build a replacement facility for Lexington Middle School — one of many projects included in Lexington 1’s $365 million building plan which was approved by voters in November.


Correction, 5:40 p.m.: A previous version of this article misstated what the Lexington 1 board voted on. The board voted to approve a purchase price, but a final vote to close on the properties is pending. This story also misstated the price per acre the board agreed to — $47,500 per acre.
Isabella Cueto is a bilingual multimedia journalist covering Lexington County, one of the fastest-growing areas of South Carolina. She previously worked as a reporter for the Medill Justice Project and WLRN, South Florida’s NPR station. She is a graduate of the University of Miami, where she studied journalism and theatre arts.
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