Originally created 03/02/05

Parents criticize property proposal



Parents of Evans Middle School students voiced their concerns to school officials at a Tuesday meeting about the possible development of 1.8 acres of school property.

Many of the nearly 50 parents attending the meeting at the school cited safety, school access problems and the loss of the football field as reasons for the school board to reject a proposal to develop part of the school's land at Belair and Washington roads.

"I think it's ludicrous to have this meeting," Evans Middle football coach Blake Crewe said. "You're really taking away from these kids if you do this."

Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial Corp. closed a deal with the school board Tuesday to buy the site for $4.8 million. They agreed not to develop it until Evans Middle moved to its new location on Hereford Farm Road in 2006.

Company representatives recently expressed interest in selling a portion of the school property that would likely encroach on the football field, rendering it useless. However, they cannot sell or develop the land without school board permission.

Mark Senn, a Blanchard and Calhoun partner, said his company has no buyer and just wanted to explore the idea of selling it.

"We'll defer to the wishes of the board of education," he said.

Associate Superintendent Charles Nagle asked parents to write down their concerns so he could deliver them to the board.

"If the board feels your concerns are too strong to (sell the property), it's not going to happen," he said. He said he is unsure when the issue might be presented to the school board for a vote.

Reach Donnie Fetter at 868-1222, ext. 113, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.