The Huntsville Board of Education voted Tuesday to approve the transfer of 30 acres of land in Limestone County to the City of Huntsville.
The land is part of the Huntsville Mega Site, and it is expected to be part of the land Toyota and Mazda will purchase to build a $1.6 billion plant. The automakers are expected to employ 4,000 workers.
While the Toyota-Mazda announcement isn't expected to be official until Wednesday, the school district is already taking steps to transfer the land to the city for $650,000 worth of work for its schools. This includes creating a tennis court at Jemison High School, a paved parking lot at Huntsville High School and gravel for parts of the Academy of Academics and Arts.
"It’s just work that we won’t have to pay to have done by contractor," Huntsville Superintendent Matt Akin said, "We can get it done by the city's departments."
Akin says the land was given to the district in 2009 with the stipulation that the district had to build a school on the property within 20 years. The changing landscape of the area toward industry led district leaders to no longer see a need in keeping the property.
One board member who voiced criticism was board member Pam Hill, who says the land was supposed to be used to build a new McDonnell Elementary, and the planed announcement is coming before the land transfer was finalized.
The Huntsville City Council is expected to vote on accepting the property reconveyance during its Thursday meeting.