TCPS renews interest in city property for expansion

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TCPS logoBy Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo Christian Preparatory School appears ready to expand by buying property from the city, an effort seriously considered five years ago but never completed.

For the second time, TCPS leaders have begun the process to appraise 2.82 acres of land owned by the city of Tupelo. This land along Endville Road in Belden appraised for $7,500 per acre in early 2008, a total value of $21,150, city records show.

The city purchased the land many years ago on behalf of Tupelo Water & Light to build the Belden water tank and has since declared that land desired by the school as surplus property. The TCPS board indicated in 2008 intentions to construct a new building on the property, which is near the school’s Belden campus.

“Tupelo Christian Preparatory School will use this area for expansion of their school, which includes a cafeteria and a parking area,” according to Tupelo City Council minutes for April 15, 2008.

City Council members voted unanimously at that meeting to approve sale of the property to the school. However, no transaction ever took place.

TW&L director Johnny Timmons informed the City Council recently of the school’s renewed interest. Given the time lapse, the city requires a second appraisal, which has been initiated by TCPS but is not yet complete.

Timmons said he will meet with the council after the appraisal to determine the sale price for the land.

When TCPS reached its 25-year milestone in spring 2013, headmaster Brian Benscoter said a cafeteria building ranked among the school’s top needs. Benscoter recently said it is too early to say how the school would use the potential property acquisition.

“The school is continuing to grow, and we are evaluating our options as they pertain to that property,” he said. No timetable has been set on sale or development of the site.

TCPS’s enrollment is 524, an increase of 44 students from a year ago. Several elementary grades, along with seventh and eighth grades are at or near capacity of 50 students.

About 85 percent of the school’s students live in Tupelo, Belden and Saltillo.

The school moved to its current location in 2003, and added a high school building in 2006.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com

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Daily Journal reporter Chris Kieffer contributed to this story.