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G’town moves closer to site for new school

SST-0330-NewSchool-c3

Germantown Superintendent Jason Manuel announced Friday that the district will discuss and vote on a contract to purchase real estate next month from Broer & Schaeffer, owners of the adjacent properties south of the intersection of Forest Hill-Irene and Poplar Pike and south of Poplar Ave.

School officials plan to build a new elementary school on the 38-acre plot of land to accommodate 750 students. The facility could include 110,000 square feet with design plans to house approximately 40 classrooms.

Discussions on this agreement have been in process for a period of time with both school and City officials investigating possible sites for the new school.

Citizens were also given a chance to voice their opinions through survey work and a series of town hall meetings organized by the school district. Citizens, the City and the schools have been working toward a solution that benefits the community as a whole.

The Germantown Municipal School Board of Education is expected to vote on the agreement at a board meeting at 6:45 p.m. on April 5 at Houston High School beginning.

“The Mayor and Aldermen have been instrumental in this process. The potential bond to purchase the land contains beneficial considerations for the school district and the city,” said Superintendent Jason Manuel, who praised the city for being ‘good partners.’

Some information on the site:

SAFETY
• A full time School Resource Officer would be assigned to the campus.
• Crime in the area is minimal.

LOCATION
• The site touches existing homes with opportunity to add access from any future development on land to the north.
• Opportunity to require future development to the north to have pedestrian/bike access to the school.
• Good distance from existing schools, preventing dual-school-traffic congestion.

ACCESSIBILITY
• Proximity to railroad crossing could contribute to delayed response by police/fire.
• Road improvements would be necessary to facilitate safe access via Forest Hill.
• School crossing guards would be assigned for traffic direction and control.
• Pedestrian and bike access is very limited. Road improvements to Forest Hill could provide a safer route.
• Forest Hill-Irene Road will have to be improved — 5-lanes, curb/gutter, sidewalk and street lights.
RR-x’ing should be modified to 4-quadrant gates.
• Will have to provide to access points along Forest Hill-Irene.
• Situated between two fire stations. Forest Hill-Irene fire station (.5 miles north) and if train obstructs tracks, Shelby County Fire Station (2.6 miles south).
• Primary entrance would line up well across from Fern Brook Drive.
• Could cause traffic congestion problems on Poplar Pike.
• Will have to provide to access points along Forest Hill-Irene.
• The primary access route to the campus for emergency vehicles is south on Forest Hill-Irene from Poplar Pike.
• Fire apparatus and ambulances only have Forest Hill-Irene for use to access the campus.
• In the event a train is blocking access over the railroad tracks at Forest Hill-Irene and Poplar Pike or travel is restricted on Forest Hill-Irene because of other situations; fire apparatus and ambulances will have to consider alternative rail crossings not affected at the time, wait until the train clears the crossing, or utilize alternative access routes. Any choice will greatly increase response time to the school campus.
• It’s recommended that Forest Hill-Irene be modified to accommodate increased vehicular traffic and for emergency response vehicle access.
• If assistance is requested from surrounding departments because of access issues to the school campus, the response time from the Collierville and Shelby County Fire Departments, from when requested, is 15 to 20 minutes.
• Access drives would need to be designed to allow fire apparatus and ambulances to access the facility/property during student arrival or dismissal.
• The available water supply in the area is sufficient for needed fire flow.

SIZE AND SHAPE
• Large enough to provide potential area for expansion.
• Plenty of space for baseball fields, Soccer fields, elementary playground equipment, city park, parking and accessory buildings.
• Full site is two tracts totaling 38 acres.

UTILITIES
• Water are available along Forest Hill-Irene.

COST
• Currently two separate parcels. Both property owners are willing sellers.
• The site is not listed, but the Reaves Property, owned by the same family, is selling at a comparable size and location for $2.9 million
• Rough estimate of pre-construction site development is $300,000.