Members of the Papillion-La Vista school board bought ground Monday for a third high school.
Officials emphasized again that construction is probably a long way off.
Board members voted to buy an 86.9-acre site about ¾ of a mile south of Shadow Lake Towne Center.
The cost: $3.95 million.
The money to buy the land comes from the $109.9 million bond issue passed by voters in 2018.
Asked when the new school would be built, board President Valerie Fisher said, “We don’t know for sure.”
She said the board needed to act now before available land disappears.
“Sarpy County is growing so quickly, the amount of land that would be required, should we ever make a decision to build a third high school, is pretty massive, and it’s getting harder and harder to get,” she said.
“The great thing about buying land is it’s a sellable commodity down the road. If we don’t need it, we can sell it.”
In the meantime, the district is expanding its two high schools with money from the 2018 bond issue.
The land for the third high school is on the east side of 72nd Street. The seller is Lienemann Enterprise Inc.
Some additional land costs have yet to be worked out.
The land is within the Springfield Platteview school district, so it is subject to a 2015 boundary agreement between the districts.
Under the agreement, if Papillion-La Vista is buying land for its own use, then the two districts negotiate a price for transfer.
Springfield Platteview Superintendent Brett Richards said the fee will probably be lower than what developers pay his district for similar transfers — a little over $2,000 an acre.
He said officials in his district are comfortable, for now, with trading land for money.
The money will go into the Springfield Platteview building fund, he said.
After years of losing property tax revenue to the Learning Community common levy, his district has been able to update its facilities to be ready for future growth.
In the last three years, Springfield Platteview has renovated Westmont Elementary School; installed a new student parking lot, track and field at Platteview High School; and renovated the junior high. The district is redoing the front parking lot at the junior high and high school.
The district also bought land for a new elementary school in the Springfield Pines subdivision.
“We’re still the biggest district in Sarpy County, geographically, even after the boundary agreements are done with Bellevue and Papillion, so we’ve got plenty of growth ahead of us,” he said.
Papillion-La Vista’s Fisher said the land transfer agreement is the right way to handle boundary issues.
“It’s better to do this than to have people trying to take over in an adversarial way,” she said.
Richards said Springfield Platteview is five to seven years away from the kind of growth that Bennington has seen recently.
One factor expected to spur growth is sewers, he said.
In September 2017, officials in Sarpy County and the cities of Bellevue, Gretna, La Vista, Papillion and Springfield approved an interlocal agreement to create a wastewater agency to build a sanitary sewer system to serve the southern portion of Sarpy County.