Quaker Valley board members reaffirmed their commitment Monday to buy a $7.5 million, 128-acre site in Leet, Edgeworth and Leetsdale with the intent of building a new high school on the land.
Board members unanimously approved a motion — listed on the Jan. 29 meeting agenda solely as “resolution 2018-02” — to authorize the property purchase from Three Rivers Trust, ratifying a motion approved by board members in May to enter a sales agreement for the land.
The resolution also reaffirmed that the deed will be transferred to the district “in lieu of condemnation” — or as a tax exempt transaction.
Solicitor Don Palmer said the district plans to close on the purchase of the land on Wednesday.
“This is quite a moment for this board and the district, as we pass this resolution and sign some papers, that we really have a vision of the future high school of Quaker Valley. We at least have its location,” board President Sarah Heres said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. It’s a final step for one piece of it and the first step for a significant next chapter. It’s an exciting time.”
Joseph Marrone, director of administrative services, said after the meeting that the motion preserves the district’s legal right so that it does not have to pay real estate transfer taxes on the purchase.
That will save both the district and its seller $75,000 each.
“This firms that up,” Palmer said.
The sale would have moved forward even without the motion, per the sales agreement, Marrone said.
Board members, however, ratified the sales agreement, and again granted district leaders to execute the purchase.
“It has been a while since the board took board action on this matter,” Palmer said. “There’s been an awful lot of work and effort put into this, so it brings some formality to it.”
Since board members approved the sales agreement in May, engineers completed drilling and surveying of the land and district leaders determined if governmental approvals could be received for a high school project.
District leaders are conducting community forums where residents can tour the nearly century-old high school. Leaders also have said they plan to seek voter approval in the form of a referendum to allow the district to borrow $70 million for the construction of a new high school.
Board members at their facilities and operations committee meeting discussed the site plan for the new high school, facilities chairman David Pusateri said.
“There is more to come in February on this,” he said, noting the board was taking no action on the site plan Monday.
Committee members have asked administrators to provide more information to the board regarding the site plan, he said.
Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.