Tonawanda News — The Tonawanda City School Board anonymously approved the sale of Central School to David Capretto for $220,000 during the body’s special meeting Tuesday night.
The sale is subject to a voter referendum to be held on May 21, along with the school board elections and budget vote.
Capretto is the president of Forbes Capretto, a custom home building company, and he plans to turn the school into an apartment building, according to district officials.
“Anything that can go onto our tax rolls is a plus for the community,” Superintendent James Newton said. “This is a very reputable builder and we believe it is a win win for everyone. It will definitely help us out financially.”
Further details about the apartments were not released, but there will be no low-income criteria for residency in the building. Newton said Capretto hopes to capitalize on the building’s proximity to the river and city’s downtown area.
Under the contract, the district will rent out space in the building, including the climate-controlled room used to store files, for $3,500 per year. The district has been paying much more than that fee to keep the structure up and running.
“We are currently paying $1,000 per month to maintain the building ... which includes heat and electric,” board President Jackie Smilinich said.
Board member Robert Starr said he was worried about renting out the building’s space and having to build a climate-controlled room in the future. In response, Smilinich suggested building a climate-controlled room in the middle and high school complex as part of the capital project— as the district has to decide how to spend an extra $1 million as part of the project.
Although the board’s vote was anonymous, there was debate over the sale — as the city council had previously appointed a committee to review the possibility of turning the building into a community center.