High school land offers revealed

Monday, September 10, 2007 | 10:54 p.m. CDT; updated 11:05 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Nancy Rosson was surprised to learn Monday that the land she has lived on for 31 years has been offered as a possible location for Columbia’s third public high school.

“I don’t condone it. I didn’t know anything about it,” Rosson said.

The 63 acres on which she lives off Olivet Road were offered by Robert Kinkead. Rosson said she co-owns the land with Kinkead; however, according to the Boone County Assessor’s Web site, Rosson is the sole owner of the land.

Rosson and Kinkead lived together on the land for 13 years.

She now lives on the property with John Mruzik, her husband, and they are in the process of adding another story to their home.

Rosson said she is not interested in selling the property, and she said Monday afternoon that she had not spoken with Kinkead for a month.

Six offers of land for the third high school were released Monday afternoon to the evaluation committee appointed to recommend a site to the school board. Engineering Surveys & Services of Columbia had conducted preliminary evaluations of the sites.

Another land offer was made by East Richland Road Properties and Richland Road Properties, which owns 80 acres of land off Richland Road. Jessica Hudson is the commercial property director for Alexander Forrest Investments of Columbia and represents the property. She said she planned to sell the land before the district requested land offers from the community and felt her land might fit the requirements. She said she dropped off a letter Aug. 14 to the school district’s attorney, David Walker.

Hudson said she was never approached by the school district about the property before submitting the offer. She said she is willing to negotiate with the district and willing to make land trades.

Assistant Superintendent Lynn Barnett said the district had been looking for a site between 80 and 100 acres.

“We can make it work on a smaller property, but we would want to be forward-thinking,” Barnett said. “We know we would need more property in the future.”

Committee member Jim King, the executive director of the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals, said that since he hadn’t had a chance to read the information delivered to the site evaluation committee, a site’s acreage will carry a lot of weight for him. King works with a lot of high schools around the state and said that 70 to 100 acres is ideal for a high school because high school populations grow quickly.

The Godas site is 80 acres and meets his size constraints, but King said the location, which is located east of Route Z and north of Interstate 70, requires driving.

“It would be scary to put high school drivers on I-70,” he said.

Ben Londeree is a site evaluation committee member and co-chairman of the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition. For him, the total cost and impact to the land are significant in his decision.

“On some of the sites the land is in the kind of shape where we could build right now,” Londeree said. “On the other hand, some of the sites are going to cost quite a bit.”

During his first read, Londeree marked red flags on sites that had potential problems.

“I don’t think there was a single property that didn’t have a flag on it,” he said. “The decision now is which flag is most important.”

Site evaluation committee member John McCormick had not had time by late Monday afternoon to fully review the land offers. He said his initial reaction is to see whether the total cost of the project looks good.

“There are clearly some options that deserve consideration,” McCormick said. “I’ve always thought that we needed to look at a site up north near the population.”

The Godas and the St. Charles Road Development sites are located north of I-70.

Missourian reporter Tori Moss contributed to this story.

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