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School Board buys land with hopes of new Altha School

A new school in Altha could be on the horizon and now the Calhoun County School Board has secured land to make that vision one step closer to reality. The board closed on three parcels of property Tuesday to “square off” the current site with adjacent land. According to Superintendent Tommy McClellan, the board has purchased the following parcels: - 1.6 acres with an old house on it next to the Altha baseball field owned by Donna Arnold for $33,000 - 1.86 acres with an old house on it behind the ag building owned by Barbara Tyre for $55,000 - 2.8 acres behind the school with a brick house on it owned by Alfred Roney for $185,000 “This squares up our land,” says McClellan, adding that the board will soon be sending a request to the Department of Education to receive special facilities funding to build a new kindergarten through eighth grade school. “They haven’t given specifications, but you’ll have to have so much land to build.” McClellan says the board will also be asking the Town of Altha to close the road that once led to these properties since there will no longer be residents needing access. The money to purchase the parcels came from a $2 million allotment to the school board from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Readers may recall odor issues the school experienced in recent years caused by old fuel tanks buried beneath the campus and the subsequent hazardous waste removal project underway a couple years back. Funding provided by DEP through this project was set aside for future construction. Because the Department of Education has said funding requests would only be considered for a K-8 school in Altha, McClellan says the board will use the remainder of the $2 million in DEP money toward the construction of a new building for 9th through 12th grade students.

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