Though there is no address as yet for the school, it falls within an area roughly bounded by the intersection of Thomas Drive and Alpharetta Street/Ga. Hwy 9, the intersection of Charles Place and Lake Drive; and the shopping center at 1201-1233 Alpharetta Street/Ga. Hwy. 9.
“Agreements have been reached with the 14 residential property owners, but there are also four commercial properties where we haven’t yet reached an agreement,” said Susan Hale, a spokeswoman for the Fulton County school system.
“We’re hoping to reach agreements before the Aug. 22 hearing. If not, we may have to exercise eminent domain.”
The new school is a part of the school system’s capital plan and was funded when voters approved an eSPLOST in November 2011.
Several site options were evaluated before settling on this location, according to a press release.
“Considering the difficulty of locating a new school in this heavily developed West Roswell area, an assemblage consisting of both commercial and residential properties is necessary. As the district considered options, school system staff worked with city of Roswell officials related to site plans and design,” the release states.
A fall 2015 opening is anticipated for the new school, intended to alleviate overcrowding in area elementary schools in north Fulton.
In its first year, the new school will house Esther Jackson students and staff while Esther Jackson Elementary School is rebuilt on the same site, a renewal project also included in the system’s capital plan.
The site, south of Holcomb Bridge Road and east of Alpharetta Street, is characterized by the school system as “underutilized and in need of revitalization.”
Hale said all of the residential owners have agreed to terms for sale, making eminent domain procedure unnecessary for those parcels.
But full agreement with all of the commercial property owners has not been reached.
County school staff offered fair market offers to these owners, according to the press release, but counter offers by these owners have been “significantly higher, well above the appraised market value. In some cases, counter offers were twice as much as the independent appraisals.”