The Lamplighter School has been around since 1953, and it’s been at its current location, on Inwood Road just south of Forest Lane, since 1969, according to the website. But despite more than four decades in the same location, it has never actually owned the 13 acres on which it sits. Who does? That would be the Hockaday School, which sits on 84 acres just to the west.
The lease isn’t up until 2027, but Lamplighter has been planning to buy the land for a looong time. Elise Murphy, the school’s assistant head for finance, said it has been an everpresent topic of discussion for the 13 years she’s been there. After Sept. 1, there won’t be much to talk about, since, assuming things go smoothly, that’s when Lamplighter plans to buy the land, valued on DCAD at a bit over $4 million. Which is why Lamplighter is issuing $7.3 million in tax-exempt bonds. Murphy said the exact purchase price has been agreed upon but won’t be released, per a stipulation in the agreement inserted by Hockaday, but that it will be in that general ballpark.
And if you care to put in your two cents on the bonds, there will be a federally-mandated public hearing at 9 a.m. at the school, because, for the bonds to be tax exempt, the city has give their nod of approval (which it likely will at Wednesday’s council meeting) and the public has to get its say. But I wouldn’t expect much. Representative from the company through which Lamplighter will issue the bonds told Murphy that in 25 years, they have had exactly one person show up to one of these meetings. Usually, they are called to order then quickly wrapped up when no one shows up. Murphy expects the whole thing Monday to be done by 9:02 a.m.