Last edited 1:22 p.m., March 30, 2023
Springfield Public Schools is under contract for a 21-acre parcel of land in the northeast quadrant of the city.
Pending approval of the Proposition S bond issue at the April 4 ballot box, SPS would acquire the land to house the future Pipkin Middle School, according to a news release. The SPS board this week voted unanimously to give the district authority to purchase the parcel should the bond issue pass.
“We considered several properties, and as you can imagine, it is a challenge to find a large piece of land in the central part of an established community,” SPS Superintendent Grenita Lathan said in the release. “Of the options considered, this property is the most desirable – and it wasn’t even on the market. When the owners learned of our interest and intended purpose, they agreed to sell.”
The property is located at 3207 E. Pythian St., about 4 miles east of the current 3.1-acre Pipkin site, 1215 N. Boonville Ave. The owner of the undeveloped land, which sits across U.S. Highway 65 from Cooper Estates, is 4GS Investments-B LLC, according to Greene County assessor records.
If voters approve the $220 million bond issue next week, the final closing of the property would occur after a 60-day period for real estate appraisal and other standard property evaluations, according to the release. SPS Chief Communications Officer Stephen Hall declined to disclose the approximate cost of the land, noting it's confidential until final closing occurs. The assessor lists a $13,500 market value for the agricultural-zoned parcel.
"In addition to the safety enhancements, improved learning environment and expanded outdoor space, another added benefit of this property will be our ability to provide bus service to more of our students," Pipkin Principal Duane Cox said in the release. "This will help ensure safe, reliable transportation to and from school every day for many of our families who are currently challenged with viable options.
"We anticipate that expanded busing will help our efforts to boost daily attendance and ultimately improve our academic achievement.”
The age of the current Pipkin building dates back to 1923, according to past reporting.
The SPS bond issue seeks to fund safety and security upgrades at all school facilities. If approved, two middle schools, Pipkin and Reed, would be replaced with new buildings, and Pershing, a K-8 building, would be renovated. Additionally, it proposes to construct storm shelters at Cowden, Holland, Mann, Pittman, Watkins and Wilder elementaries, according to past reporting.
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