Sunday, March 11, 2001

Family offers land for school


Lakota elementary may rise from farm

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — A 207-acre development proposed at Ohio 747 and Tylersville Road may provide space for Lakota Schools' 11th elementary school.

        The Hutzelman family, owners of the farm since 1845, have agreed to donate 9.5 acres of property, off Smith Road, for the school, said Stephen Hunt, an attorney for the family.

        But before an elementary school can be built there, the district needs another four acres now owned by Concorde Capital, said Superintendent Kathleen Klink.

        “This is the site we're most interested in,” Mrs. Klink said. “This is a good location, given our enrollment patterns.”

        Lakota High School graduate Martha Hutzelman said her family wants to donate the land to the school district because five generations have gone through schools that now make up Lakota.

        “We want the project to reflect a community,” Ms. Hutzelman said. “One part of that is a tie to the schools. It would be a good draw for residents in the project. It is the right thing to do.”

        Mrs. Klink said the first piece of the puzzle may be decided Tuesday, when West Chester Township trustees vote to rezone the property so it can be developed as apartments, condominiums, offices, restaurants, shops and single-family homes. It would be known as West Chester Village.

        She is still talking with Concorde officials about the other four acres, which would also have to be rezoned.

        If both pieces of land were donated, the district would build a school large enough for about 800 children, Mrs. Klink said.

        Money for the school would come from a combination levy voters approved last November which includes a 26-year, $44.5-million bond issue that will also pay for a fourth junior school, scheduled to open in two years.

        Mrs. Klink said the school board would continue to look at other property in case the donations don't work out.

        Should the district get the land at no cost, it would put the money earmarked to buy land toward future land purchases, she said.

        Last December the Lakota Board of Education agreed to buy 85 acres of the VanGorden farm for the junior school, opening in 2003.

        The board paid $22,500 per acre for the land, at the northwest corner of Lesourdsville-West Chester and Princeton roads in Liberty Township.

       



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