WARRENTON — The Warrenton-Hammond School Board on Thursday agreed to pay more than $7 million to Warrenton Fiber Co. for a new master campus on Dolphin Avenue.
The school district agreed to $6.3 million for around 58 acres between Dolphin Avenue and the Roosevelt subdivision being developed by the Nygaard family, owners of Warrenton Fiber. The district also agreed to buy 5 acres of wetland mitigation credits from the Nygaards for $870,000 to offset future impacts to Old Skipanon Creek running along the southern edge of the property.
“It’s the first real step in a really long process,” Mark Jeffery, the school superintendent in Warrenton, said before the school board’s vote.
The purchase begins a 15-year plan to move all campuses west of the Skipanon River and above the tsunami inundation zone. Voters last year approved $38.5 million in bonds to purchase a master campus and build a new middle school as part of the first phase. A facilities committee recommended a 2022 bond to move the high school, and a 2032 bond to move the elementary school.
The school district will likely close on the Dolphin Avenue property in April, after the Nygaards finish the plat for the Roosevelt subdivision and break off the district’s portion of the property, Jeffery said. By then, the district should have a project manager and design team to start designing the school and lining up construction timelines.
“I have no idea when they’ll start turning dirt,” Jeffery said of the project. “It will obviously be after my tenure.”
Jeffery will retire at the end of the school year in June. He is being replaced by Tom Rogozinski, principal of Warrenton Grade School, who was chosen Thursday as the new superintendent.
The Nygaards will retain access to the new campus site and eventually punch in a road along the north end connecting Willow Drive and Dolphin Avenue. The new Roosevelt subdivision will eventually include 74 homes.