Alcoa OKs school site purchase
By Iva Butler | (email@example.com)
After months of negotiation, the city of Alcoa has agreed to pay $235,000 for 53 acres of ALCOA Inc. property for the new Alcoa High School.
Alcoa City Commission Tuesday night authorized the execution of the contract.
There will likely be a few minor changes once the city gets the actual contract, but the basics have been agreed upon. Some contract language will likely be changed to meet requirements of both the city and ALCOA Inc. attorneys.
Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson expects to get the contract this week, which city attorneys will then review.
Johnson thinks it will take about four weeks before the city can close on the property and the deed can be recorded.
Last week the city had the final test done on the school site — a soil vapor test — and it is expected to take two weeks to get those test results. A survey also must be conducted on the property.
An environmental development agreement must be approved by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). Johnson thinks this can be completed about the same time it will take to get ready to close on the property.
ALCOA offered the city two tracts totaling 53 acres; the actual school building site contains 25 acres. The city expects to get the deed to that property first.
That tract was used for pasture 75 years ago by ALCOA Inc. The city has aerial photos of the property dating back to 1938 showing fence lines that are still in existence today, Johnson said. The assumption is that it has always been used to graze cattle.
The other 28-acre site, which ALCOA Inc. definitely wants the city to take ownership of, contains a former plant waste disposal site called Lake Louise. The site has been capped and all tests conducted meet TDEC requirements,
“ALCOA did not put any real hazardous materials on that site. That site has been tested to death,” Johnson said.
It will be topped with an additional 15 feet of fill dirt and will be suitable for the track or another athletic facility, Johnson said. A portion is in the flood plain, which can be used as green space.
The entire former plant site is under direction of the TDEC, which deems certain sites can only be used for specific uses, such as the Lake Louise site.
According to the contract, the city must provide pollution liability insurance on behalf of ALCOA during the construction period.
ALCOA also insisted the contract state the city will indemnify ALCOA Inc. to the extent allowed by the law for both tracts.
“Our position as a government agency is the constitution doesn’t allow cities to indemnify,” said city attorney John Owings.
“It doesn’t create any more liability for us because, under the constitution, we don’t have any,” Owings said.
Once the deed is recorded, a groundbreaking ceremony may be held around the first of May, but it’s still uncertain when the city will start moving dirt.
The first project will be removing a hump from next to the softball field. That dirt has been tested and is usable fill dirt, Johnson said.
The city expects to get 30,000 cubic yards of dirt from the hump that will be used to raise the site where the school will be constructed. That, along with dirt moved from other locations on that site, is expected to be all the fill required.
The hump would have been removed anyway, because it will be used for additional parking, Johnson said.