A 19.6-acre site south of Hughson High School is being sold by the Hughson Unified School District because it no longer qualifies as a future school site because of state regulations.
In 2002, the Hughson School Board purchased approximately 30 acres south of Hughson High School that was intended for a future school.
“After purchase, I guess they found out that it was too close to the railroad tracks,” said District Superintendent Brenda Smith. “So we were unable to build a school there.”
The district is keeping all but 19 acres of the 30-acre parcel for a student farm utilized by high school ag students as well as growing alfalfa.
“This is actually the second time that it’s been put up for sale. We’ve gone through the whole process of notifying public agencies. We’ll be taking bids if there are any interested parties.”
The parcel is zoned agriculture and likely would be more fitting for ag uses than for housing. Smith said the property would have to be rezoned and part of it annexed to the city of Hughson if someone wanted to build houses on it.
There has been interest in the property in years past but nobody has shown interest currently.
“We’ve had interest in both – putting in homes or farming. It’s kind of been a mix.”
Smith said the property has been appraised at $50,000 an acre. Proceeds from any sale would be used for existing facilities, she said.
The district is currently running a public notice in a local newspaper to announce the property is for sale.
Because there has been little new housing construction in Hughson, there has been no immediate need to construct new schools. In fact, enrollment had been in a decline for the past four years until last year when it leveled out.
“We didn’t have declining enrollment last year so we do have some room (to grow). We also have some room on our campuses that we could add to if needed.”
Smith has a theory about Hughson’s lack of growth in enrollment.
“In Hughson typically people when they move here they don’t leave here. It’s really a great community. For example, my dad still lives in the house that I grew up in and all of us are adult children now. So that happens pretty frequently here in this town where they buy a home and raise their family and then their family grows up and the parents stay. So there’s not a lot of building in town so there aren’t many homes for sale in Hughson. We just don’t have a lot of new families coming in to replace the students (who grew up). For our interdistrict (transfers) we actually have more students who come into our district than leave our district.”
While the school district property is right across the street from the existing high school, new laws disqualified the site as a building site out of safety precautions, said Smith.