Property Acquisition for New Elementary Schools-
The Auburn School District is facing a shortage of classrooms for elementary students. The shortage is the result of enrollment growth, the change to full-day kindergarten and reduction in class sizes.
The ASD has been looking for property for new elementary schools for about 10 years with limited success. Efforts to find property were expanded after the 2015 Citizens Ad Hoc Committee recommended building two new elementary schools as soon as possible and a third within 10 years.
Since 2015, the district has looked at dozens of properties and investigated 33 sites for acquisition. The district has faced some major hurdles in acquiring land. There is limited property available in the locations where new elementary schools are needed, there is no land zoned for schools and, where the district has found property, the sites are not feasible for a school.
Where schools are needed, the district identified suitable school sites on property currently owned by multiple property owners and not currently for sale.
North end: On Lea Hill, the district identified three parcels necessary for construction of a new elementary school. The district successfully negotiated with one of the three landowners and is in process of purchasing the parcel. The district is in conversation with the second owner. The district could not come to an agreement with the owner of the third parcel through voluntary negotiations and began condemnation proceedings to acquire the land in mid 2017.
South end: Off of Kersey Way, the district identified four parcels necessary for construction of a new elementary school. The district successfully negotiated with three of the four landowners and purchased the parcels. The district could not come to an agreement with the owner of the fourth parcel through voluntary negotiations and began condemnation proceedings to acquire the land in early 2018.
The district views the eminent domain process as a last resort. The Auburn School District has a duty and is authorized by law to provide students with educational facilities. Given the lack of available properties within the district, the school board determined these two sites as the best options for fulfilling the recommendations of the Citizens Ad Hoc Committee and the expectations of the community when the Building for Learning Bond passed in 2016.
updated March 28, 2018