The Jim Thorpe Area School District board of education accepted a commercial real estate property valuation report from Person Agency Inc. for the property it owns on State Route 903 in Penn Forest Township across from Bear Creek Lakes during its normal monthly meeting Monday evening.

The board has voted to begin planning a new middle school somewhere in the district, to be constructed sometime within the next three to five years to handle the expected increase in population. It has not yet been decided where to build the new facility. The district currently owns land around both of its elementary schools and the land across from Bear Creek Lakes.

The administration is behind putting the new building on the Bear Creek Lakes property, but some board members are resisting the idea. The decision to appraise the property was made to give the board more information about the property as they work toward a decision.

Last year, the board voted to give control of about 30 acres of the Bear Creek Property to Penn Forest Township for a park. The appraisal includes that land and the rest of the 182 acre plot the school board owns.

According to Person Agency, the land is worth only about $1.26 million, a sum that board member Gerald Strubinger called "very low." The board took no action on the information at the meeting.