MT. JULIET - Wilson County's next new high school will be in the heart of Mt. Juliet's Northtown District, which is City Commissioner Ray Justice's jurisdiction.
Justice spoke at Monday's Wilson County School Board's special meeting, lobbying for the site just before the 3-2 vote to approve the 64-1/2-acre tract that is at the corner of North Green Hill and Lebanon Roads. It is near W.A. Wright Elementary School as well, and Justice noted most likely there were be a straight-through access from the new high school to the grammar school.
As noted, this site scored the highest of a handful of other pinpointed sites that included the Lebanon/State Route 109 area and Benders Ferry Road.
"The majority of the new population is in the northwest quadrant," Justice said.
The commissioner said the next 10 years will see population explode in the area.
"I'm excited about the prospect of a new high school, with this new development in my district," Justice said after the meeting.
He said the new school will cut down on Lebanon Road traffic that would otherwise head toward the existing Mt. Juliet High on Golden Bear Parkway.
A 450-plus subdivision, Nichols Vale, is currently under construction and within a stone's throw of the approved tract.
Meanwhile, Justice told the board he seriously opposed the Division Street site for safety reasons. And he added that he opposed both Highway 109 sites because of traffic, too.
The recently retired Wilson County sheriff's deputy said he had been a traffic coordinator for the sheriff's department. "109 has horrible road conditions and horrible traffic problems," he commented.
Justice favored the North Greenhill site, which is in his district, because he knows how much growth in Mt. Juliet is coming to that area - adding that many of the new school's students will come from there.
"We have 400 homes in Nichols Vale being built," he told the board - then counted up over 1,000 more, all on Mt. Juliet's north side, that have been approved recently and will be built within the next 12 to 18 months.
"And, there is so much more to come that I'm not at liberty to talk about," Justice noted.
Justice said the announcement of the chosen site will be a boost to his district.
"People already come to Wilson County because of the superior school district, that's a given," he said. "Now we create a brand new high school in this area; it will be another big component in the revitalization of the area."
And while Justice said perhaps if the acreage had been developed into commercial retail it would bring more tax revenue dollars, he said a big plus to the new school's presence is that it will drive retail and boost property values.
"Property values in this area will go through the roof," he said. "We do believe in managed growth, but this will drive property values. The last big thing for that was when sewer was brought in, in 2000."
Justice said he's heard no negative feedback since this particular acreage was selected as a possible site.
Justice said the school board has yet to determine zoning for the new high school.
Near Mt. Juliet is a hotbed of planned school growth with a middle school slated for the Gladeville area and a middle and elementary school approved on Golden Bear Parkway.
Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at email@example.com.