Land acquisition procedures are managed through Real Estate Services. The department works closely with Student Assignment and with Facility Design and Construction to determine facility needs throughout Wake County. Potential school site location areas are identified with target rings generated by Student Assignment, and sites in or near the target rings are identified and analyzed for suitability.
Each potential site for location and construction of schools, administration or support facilities must undergo a rigorous review before a final decision is made. Some of the factors considered in site selection include:
- Land availability of an appropriate size suitable to accommodate necessary buildings, structures, fields, and other improvements
- Appropriate zoning for the intended use
- The presence, proximity and availability of public utilities
- Likely off-site infrastructure costs for projected sewer and water services
- Transportation and access issues
- Likely off-site infrastructure costs for projected road improvements
- Environmental site conditions
- Potential site development cost variables, including raw land costs, presence and extend of wetlands & stream buffers, soil conditions, presence of rock, buildable area sufficiency
- Impacts on potential school assignment configurations
- Impacts on neighborhoods and existing infrastructure
- Seller's interest in or willingness to sell
Consideration is also given to adaptive reuse opportunities for purchase of an existing building or structure that is suitable or could be cost effectively made suitable for school, administrative or support use. Examples of adaptive reuse site acquisitions include Lufkin Road Middle School, River Oaks Middle School, and Laurel Park Elementary School.
Once a site is selected, negotiations for site acquisition begin with the landowner. If a landowner is unwilling to sell after negotiations are reasonably exhausted, under North Carolina law the Board of Education can consider condemnation of the property, and acquire the property by eminent domain in exchange for just compensation.
After a contract for acquisition of real property is negotiated and agreed upon by the landowner, it is presented to the Board of Education for approval, along with an appraisal of the property to support the agreed-upon contract price.
Due diligence studies are completed to investigate and examine the property, and to confirm its suitability for the intended use.
A site is reviewed collaboratively with Wake County and municipality staff to explore potential joint partnership opportunities for co-location of public facilities including parks, athletic fields, libraries, open space, greenways, EMS stations, convenience centers, etc.
Once suitability is confirmed and off-site infrastructure costs are obtained, the contract is presented with supporting information to the Wake County Board of Commissioners for approval and funding.
Land acquisition funding is included in Capital Improvement Programs that are approved by The Wake County Board of Education and the Wake County Board of Commissioners, and are bond-funded.