DCSS purchases property near DHS

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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Property was previously being considered for apartment complex

The Demopolis City School Board has recently purchased 6.92 acres of land near Demopolis High School. The property stretches to U.S. Hwy. 80 between the MedCenter and Jack’s.

The property was previously being considered for an apartment complex by a development company out of Georgia; however, that project was reportedly denied by the state.

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The decision of the school board to purchase the property was announced during a called board meeting last Friday, August 14. The school board has been looking for a way to add another exit off the high school campus as there is currently only one way and out. Having only one exit from campus presents a safety issue in the case of an emergency during school, a football game, or a graduation ceremony.

“If you go to a football game, you know when 5,000 people are leaving at the same time, it gets quite congested there,” said Superintendent Kyle Khallhoff. “And for graduations, it might take an hour from the time you get in your vehicle to the time you get off campus because there is only one way in and one way out.”

It’s a problem that the school board has known about for a while, and it has been on the board’s capital plan to address that issue. The board members had a short window of time to go into a contract to purchase the land. Construction won’t begin immediately, but Khallhoff hopes to start within the next two years.

The price for the property is $400,000, and the school board plans to use a capital bond that was recently approved by the state legislature. A capital bond is money that can be used for capital projects in schools. The bond will be awarded to every school system, and the school would not have to pay it back. Part of the bond’s stipulation is that schools can use some of the money to pay off a debt for capital projects. Khallhoff said the school board will initially seek financing through local financial institutions. However, when the board receives the bond in early 2021, they will take money from the bond to pay off the financing.

Khallhoff praised the board members for setting up a contract quickly and ensuring the property to the board.

“I am really proud of our school board for not only thinking about what is happening right now and thinking multiple years in advance. This is forward-thinking on their part,” he said. “There are only so many opportunities for property around the high school to do what we need to do. They had a good vision of the future, and I am proud of their decision.”