The Hall County School District is considering the $775,000 purchase of a 51-acre plot of land that would be used as a cattle herd working farm and provide agribusiness education for students, according to Superintendent Will Schofield.
During a Board of Education work session Monday evening, Schofield said the school district has entered into a contract to buy the land, and is in a due diligence period, during which the school can choose whether or not to follow through with the purchase.
Schofield said on top of the property’s $775,000 price tag, including legal fees, the district would also spend $70,500 to fence the farm in. The $845,500 would be paid for with money from voter-approved bond referendum. Voters OK’d the referendum in June.
If finalized, the district would also use money from a voter-approved special 1% sales tax for education, or ESPLOST, for additional purchases related to the farm, including $50,000 for demolition of existing structures on the property and $25,000 to purchase livestock handling and care equipment.
“It is past time for us to make agribusiness something that we get at least our middle and high school students actively engaged in,” Schofield said. “And for our elementary school students, I can’t imagine what a good field trip opportunity this will be.”
Speaking in favor of the purchase, school board Vice Chairman Nath Morris called agribusiness programming “overdue” in the Hall County community.
“Agriculture is still very important to this community,” he said. “This is a program that is overdue, but it is still good timing for it. The one thing I asked the superintendent is once a couple of us are gone, a few years down the road, hopefully this is going to be a sustainable program and it will continue, because it is needed in this area.”