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Sullivan County school board signs contracts to buy land for new schools

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Sullivan County is one step closer to building two new schools. Contracts have been signed to purchase properties for a new middle school and a new high school.

The new high school, opening in 2020, will be on Lynn Road near the airport. The land will cost $2.9 million. The new middle school, opening in 2019, will be on Weaver Pike close to Sullivan East. That land will cost $1.9 million.

News 5 has received emails from viewers, asking why the school board is paying that price for the middle school property, when the listed appraisal value is reportedly $780,000.

School board chairman Michael Hughes said he's not concerned about the cost, and explained why they are paying more.

"The appraisal - if you went by 'market value' - if you were buying farm land, that's probably what we would've paid," Hughes said. "But 'use value' - is the property's best use - if you put a Walmart or school there, the property owner is going to expect to get more and can get more."

This is the final step before construction can begin.

This is part of Sullivan County's $140 million dollar plan. Under that plan, Sullivan North, South and Central will all be closed.

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