Daviess County Public Schools has closed on the purchase of more than 40 acres within, and adjacent to, the Gateway Commons development area, according to a press release from Gulfstream Commercial Services LLC Chief Operating Officer Ed Ray.
“The selection of this site by the county school system signifies the kick-off to another great piece of this fantastic 200+ acre mixed use development on Owensboro’s east side,” Ray said.
The 43-acre lot will be a combination of 20 acres of “shovel-ready” Gateway Commons land at $260,000 per acre and 23 acres of the Settles Estate at $115,000 per acre, valued at $7.85 million when combined. The gross investment for DCPS is $5.9 million, a 25 percent discount from the appraised value.
The $5.9 million investment will be offset by the $1.4 million sale of the existing DCMS property at 1415 E. 4th St. to Owensboro Grain and the potential sale of Highland Elementary School, which Re/Max has estimated to be $4.5 million for its 15 acres.
According to Daviess County Superintendent Matt Robbins, relocating Highland is a long-term goal, but is not yet outlined on the current priority facility plan. But the new DCMS site has land allotted on the Calumet Trace end of the property to build Highland.
“This partnership truly is a strategic move for the entire community,” Ray said. “When completed, this visionary project will provide an outstanding learning environment and scholastic atmosphere for those children and improved transportation options.”
The biggest obstacle to finding a location for the new middle school, according to Robbins, was passing traffic studies required by city, county and state engineers, given that a 900-student school would significantly increase traffic volume to the already busy east side.
“In several cases, roads that did not exist were required to be constructed or existing two-lane roads were inadequate and unsafe to handle the traffic load,” Robbins said.
In addition to the acreage being centrally located, 50 percent of the land has already been graded by Gateway Commons developers, and access to US-60 — the former bypass — proves an ideal, long-term solution for traffic flow.
Ray said the school complex is a placemaking initiative, which will enhance the entire Kentucky 54 corridor.
“The central location of the school, in proximity to retail and other services, provides convenient access for academic and athletic visitors to Gateway Commons, and will enable the households who have children or grandchildren at that school to more easily access the area establishments when commuting to and from the new location,” Ray said.