The county school board, running close to deadline on a site for theplanned western middle school, bought a 61-acre site on Route 99 for$520,000 and approved final construction drawings for the school.

The two actions last week will keep the project on schedule to open in the fall of 1993. Board members also approved final plans for the northeastern elementary school, to open in September 1993 on an eight-acre site in Rockburn Branch Park.

The agreement between the school system and property owner Chesapeake Federal Savings and Loan Association calls for the board to pay about $8,500 an acre in cash for the 61 acres. The board will also pay for a 3/4-mile access road that will serve the school and a residential subdivision planned on property adjacent to the school site.

The total of the payment to Chesapeake and the estimated cost of theroad construction brings the school system's expenditure to approximately $18,000 an acre, said Sydney L. Cousin, associate superintendent for finance and operations.

An average price for undeveloped land in the area of the planned school would be $8,000 to $15,000 an acre, said Tim Feaga, marketing director for American Properties Inc. The land the board is buying would probably sell for $16,000 to $20,000, he said.

A residential subdivision of single-family houses on three-acre lots is planned for approximately 60 acres not being acquired by the school board. The board plans to use 35 acres of its property for the middle school and retain 26 acres for a future elementary school.

The northeastern elementary school site was made available by the county Department of Recreation and Parks in exchange for the school system's agreement to replace the land by buying property of equal value. The two agencies will develop playing fields on adjoiningpark land for use by students and community members.

Cost of the northeastern elementary, including site development and equipment, isestimated at $8.5 million. Construction bids are to be received in April.

The western middle school's projected total cost is $12.7 million. Construction bids are to be received in March.

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