Jones tells process for acquiring land for proposed school, career academy

Questions about acquiring the site for the proposed new Greene County High School and adjacent Iowa Central Community College career academy were answered Wednesday by Sid Jones on behalf of the school district and the Our Kids, Our Future – Greene County committee.

The site is directly west of AAI/Spalding on the south side of Highway 30.

Mike and Kathy Bravard, owners of the property, have been supportive of the project since the initial discussions about building the facility there, and they have agreed to make the 80-plus acres available. They have a long history of farming in Greene County, and rather than selling the property outright, they desire to “replace” the parcel with other farmland through a property exchange known as a “1031 exchange.”

Jones explained three steps are required for the property exchange. First, the value of the parcel must be established. Second, Bravards must find and identify replacement farmland. Finally, a value must be established for that replacement parcel.

“Based on the discussions with Bravards for the value of their land and possible replacement farmland, we feel confident the projected cost of the land will work out to be within the overall project guidelines that have been established and outlined to the public,” Jones said. “We should also note the cost of the Bravard land will likely be only a fraction of some of the speculated values that have been expressed publicly.”

The exact cost of the land is not set. “Property exchange transactions such as this can be complex, and the actual purchase price of the Bravard land will depend on the final negotiations of the exchange transactions,” Jones explained.

“The best result for the school district and the sellers of the property will be realized if those transactions can proceed at the correct pace,” he said.

The final cost of the land will be disclosed when it is known, perhaps within the next couple of weeks.

The cost of acquiring the land is not part of the $21.48 million bond issue on an April 3 ballot. Should the bond referendum receive the required 60 percent majority for approval, the purchase of the property will be done using funds from the district’s physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) and the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) one-cent sales tax.

Bravards anticipate farming the parcel during the coming growing season. Site preparation would begin after the fall harvest.

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