The Hamblen County Board of Education has an option to purchase 8.2 acres of land for future athletics use near Morristown-Hamblen High School West, Hugh Clement, assistant superintendent for administration, confirmed this morning.

The land is located south of the campus, across Lincoln Avenue. Clement says the school system will likely request money to buy the land in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

“The West High campus is landlocked, and we’re in need of more acreage for athletic practices and outdoor events,” Clement said. “We have reached an agreement.”

The immediate need is for a soccer practice field, which could also be used for marching band practice. The 8.2 acres is far more than would be needed to locate a single soccer field. Clement says the property could be built out over several years to accommodate other sports.

In doing title-search work on the property in advance of anticipated land acquisition, however, Scott Reams, the school board’s attorney, found that there was an undeveloped city right-of-way that encumbered the land.

At one point, Dice Street was platted to extend beyond its current end point at Lennie Avenue, travel through the current West High campus and end just south of Lincoln Avenue, according to city officials. The Morrsitown Regional Planning Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to abandon the undeveloped Dice Street right-of-way to allow the land sale to move forward.

The land the school system plans to buy is part of the former Dewey Bales farm. The property is outside the Morristown city limits, and would have to be annexed before the school systems’ construction plans are approved.