Schools Reach Settlement with DOT for West End Land

Trees piled for burning near West End Elementary School on March 16, 2023. Maggie Beamguard/SLI


The Moore County Board of Education will receive almost $300,000 more than the  state originally offered for land it took to accommodate the widening of N.C. 211 through West End.

School officials announced this week the district will receive $415,000 for 2.5 acres the state Department of Transportation took for the widening project. The state originally paid $128,250 in 2022 for the property, but board members were not satisfied with the fairness of that price.

The state has power known as “eminent domain” in which it can take property for public projects and then compensate those property owners.

DOT needed 0.966 acres for permanent easements, 1.294 acres for a right of way and 0.272 acres for temporary construction easements.

After talking with the school board, Superintendent Tim Locklair proposed a $1.1 million counteroffer. Attorneys representing the district and DOT negotiated over a price for several months and ultimately resolved the differences in mediation.

As part of its position, the board also wanted the state to foot the bill to add two classrooms to the West End building. That addition would replace two modular classroom buildings now stationed in the northwest corner of the campus closest to the road.

“The board was very concerned that the widening of the road onto school property and increased traffic would create safety risks, noise and distractions for students and staff,” the district said in a statement announcing the settlement “The Board requested compensation from NCDOT to cover the costs of a masonry wall designed for safety and noise mitigation.”

District officials say they intend to build a masonry safety barrier and landscaping “to enhance the school’s attractiveness and improve safety. This will happen once road construction permits.”

“All the money the Board received will be reinvested into West End Elementary School.”

The loss of part of the campus won’t directly affect how the school operates. Cars dropping off and picking up students use a driveway off of Love Grove Church Road to access the school, but the parking areas along N.C. 211 are used to stage buses and for some staff parking.

School officials say they will work with DOT contractors to minimize disruptions near the school. The widening project is expected to take about three years to complete. When finished, N.C. 211 will be widened from its current four-lane terminus at N.C. 73 in West End all the way west to Holly Grove School Road.