During its monthly meeting March 11, the Watauga County Board of Education approved a contract to purchase a 14.4 acre tract of land in Valle Crucis for the eventual construction of a new Valle Crucis School.

The property is situated along Broadstone Road between the Mast Farm Inn and the Mast Store Annex, approximately one-quarter mile from the existing school.

Valle Crucis, along with Hardin Park School, was identified in a 2017 architectural study of Watauga County Schools facilities as requiring complete replacement, alongside significant repair and renovation to the district’s other K-8 schools.

The Board of Education entered a contract for the $1,105,000 property by allocating funds from its existing fund balance — money the board has set aside over the past several years.

Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said the board chose to self-fund the purchase of the property in order to begin the process of updating and making necessary repairs to Watauga’s schools. While the Board of Education’s fund balance will be used for the purchase of the property, the Board of Education is required by state law to receive the approval of the Board of Commissioners for the purchase price of real property.

“The board felt it was important that we begin in earnest to make the changes and upgrades recommended in our most-recent architectural study. For years, Valle Crucis School has been impacted by flooding issues. The time has come for us to take the first steps towards seeing it replaced.”

Elliott said the new property represented a strong balance between several points of interest shared by both school leadership and community members in Valle Crucis.

“The Board settled on this tract of land after significant consideration of several issues,” Elliott said. “This property strikes the best balance of avoiding further flooding issues while keeping Valle Crucis School within the Valle Crucis community. There are few pieces of available land in the area that are large enough to support a school, but we felt strongly that the presence of Valle Crucis School in the Valle was an important part of that community’s culture and vibrancy.”

The board’s purchase of the Valle Crucis property will be contingent on several tests to determine such things as soil structure, the availability of water, and other construction related considerations.