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Hatboro-Horsham OKs Deed for School Property

The Hatboro-Horsham School Board approved the deed to transfer roughly 25 acres of federal property to house the future home of Hallowell Elementary School.

The Hatboro-Horsham School Board approved the deed to transfer roughly 25 acres of federal property to house the future home of Hallowell Elementary School.
The Hatboro-Horsham School Board approved the deed to transfer roughly 25 acres of federal property to house the future home of Hallowell Elementary School.
Signed. Sealed. Delivered. 

Hatboro-Horsham School District now owns the former Horsham Memorial Army Reserve Center on Route 611 in Horsham Township. 

The school board on Monday night approved the deed conveying the land–comprised of 6.73 acres where the federal government buildings still remain and 19.19 acres–to the district for $1.

The federal government approved the so-called public benefit conveyance on the condition that for 30 years from the date of the deed, Hatboro-Horsham uses the property "solely and continuously for the educational programs" previously identified. The district has said that the land will become the future home of Hallowell Elementary School. 

But, before a new school can be built, the district must officially "take possession of the property," Superintendent Curtis Griffin told Patch. "It may be this week," he added. 

After that, he said that hiring an architect, as well as a construction manager are the next steps. Griffin said he'd like to have those professionals in place by the end of February. 

Also needed is a better understanding of what student enrollment would look like in the coming years as the shuttered Willow Grove air base is dotted with a planned 1,416 homes and other housing developments move to fruition, Griffin said. 

On Monday, the school board approved a $7,327 contract with the Montgomery County Planning Commission to conduct enrollment projection services.

"We want local data," Griffin said, adding that the planning commission has a "lot of knowledge." "I really value that. We have some challenges in terms of making decisions for the future."

Progress of some sort is required at least within the next year. According to the 21-page deed, the school district needs to file a report detailing its "maintenance and use of the property" with the United States a year from the date of the deed and every year thereafter for the next 30 years. 

School officials said previously that the new Hallowell could be built by 2016.

In preparation for taking possession of the land, the school district spent $27,000 last year on an environmental site assessment of the property. Officials have said that those reports determined that the land is safe for use as a school. 

According to the deed, if an "actual or threatened" release of a hazardous substance or petroleum is discovered moving forward, the school district "shall be responsible for such release or newly discovered substance" unless Hatboro-Horsham is able to prove that potential contamination was directly related to the federal government's use or ownership of the property.

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