Tonawanda News

September 25, 2013

Central School sale approved

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The Tonawanda City School District unanimously accepted an offer for the purchase of Central School Tuesday night at its regular board meeting.

Hunt and Associates LLC proposed to buy the building for $165,000, and the contract includes a three-year lease storage deal for the district. The intended use for the building, which is located at 80 Clinton St., was not discussed.

The approval comes after a previous sale fell through. David Capretto, of Forbes Capretto Homes, was set to purchase the structure for $220,000. Capretto said he planned to turn the school into an apartment building, but withdrew the offer in June.

“He was hoping to obtain historical credits that would have helped with the cost of the project,” Director of Business and Financial Services Stephen Perry said at the time. “But state inspectors said too many changes had been made to the building and they denied the assistance.”

The school has not been used as a full-time education facility for more than a decade, but has housed district documents, a teacher center and the Historical Society of the Tonawandas’ archives.

In other district news, board members received an update on an ongoing capital project.

Dave Kenyon, of Wendel, the architectural company managing the capital project, said the revised plans to renovate the existing band and choral rooms have been sent to the state Department of Education for their approval, but they have not yet gotten a response.

“We will followup and monitor that,” he said. “We are hoping that an addendum will speed up the process.”

Contractors still have to finish punch list items for the athletic field, stadium and workout room, all of which are already approved for use. The equipment for the workout room will arrive in November.

The board also discussed whether the track will be made available for public use when students are not using it.

“The track could be open to the community, but close at dusk,” Superintendent James Newton said. “I think we should try our best to do that.”

But some board members expressed concerns that the district will be liable for injuries on the property.

“If someone gets hurt, it is our responsibility,” Board President Sharon Stuart said. 

Discussions about public use of the workout room and track will continue in the coming weeks.

Richard Ertel, of Amato, Fox and Company also attended Tuesday’s meeting to provide the external audit report on the district’s finances.

“Your financial position is very stable and very solid,” he told the board while presenting the review.

He noted some increasing costs, such as retirement benefits, but said the district is doing well controlling spending in light of reduced government funding.

“A-plus all across the board,” he said.

Contact reporterJessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley