The Board of Education approved the purchase of an eight-acre site on the south edge of the high school campus. The district will pay $160,000 to acquire the land from Maple Avenue Christian Church. The board also agreed to have the district buy the adjoining Youth for Christ house on Maple Avenue for $78,000 plus the cost of demolition.
The district will pay for the purchases with money generated from the one-cent sales tax for McDonough County schools.
Superintendent Patrick Twomey said the land could be used for a variety of purposes.
Twomey: We haven’t made any decisions yet. To be honest, because that land is directly adjacent to our current property, that’s the real reason we want to purchase it. Particularly that church property. It adds over eight acres directly to the south of our property here. And it could be used for a whole host of a variety of things for the district.
TSPR: Such as?
Twomey: Ball fields. Band practice room. All kinds of things.
TSPR: A middle school?
Twomey: Well, the board has not made the determination whether they’re going to build or whether they’re going to rehab a building. So that decision has not been made yet.
TSPR: Is that site large enough for a middle school?
Twomey: That site would be large enough for a middle school. Yes it would be.
Twomey said other sites could still be under consideration for a middle school.
Middle school students in Macomb currently share a building with high schoolers. Twomey believes middle school students would be better served by having their own building.
The school district has spent several years talking to the city, McDonough District Hospital, and the YMCA about constructing a multi-purpose building that would include a middle school. Twomey said that project -- known as Community First -- is still possible but it’s looking less likely.