Durham Public Schools is asking Durham County for $2.9 million to buy land for two future schools at the county's southern edge.
The money would come from the bond issue voters approved in 2003 and from two-thirds bonds previously designated for the schools' use.
Commissioners will discuss the request at their work session Thursday. The session was rescheduled from Monday due to the weather. County Manager Mike Ruffin is recommending the commissioners hold a public hearing on the item at their regular meeting March 12.
(That meeting is being held on a Thursday rather than the customary Monday because several commissioners will be out of town early in the week.)
The school board approved the $2.9-million offer in January, for a 47-acre tract on Scott King Road, about 3/4 of a mile above the Chatham County line. It would be used for a new elementary school and a new middle school, as proposed in DPS' current long-range plan.
According to the school system, the land's appraised value is $3.1 million. Durham county tax records show it valued at about $860,000. Most of the property is owned by the IUKA Development Corp., which bought it in 1969. Tax records show Durham attorney Nick Galifianakis is another landowner involved.
Two years ago, commissioners rejected a developer's plan to build a 71-homesite subdivision on the land, which is crossed by two streams feeding into a polluted area of Jordan Lake.
A portion of the land is designated a "natural heritage area" on the 1999 Durham County Inventory of Important Natural Areas, Plants and Wildlife.
The schools' proposal has upset some south-Durham residents who opposed the subdivision in 2007.
"If they put two schools in there, it's going to obliterate that site more than any [subdivision] development," said resident Carol Young.