New state law affects possible Curtiss sale
HAMMONDSPORT—The Hammondsport Central School District board of education discussed the impact of a new, April 1, law on the possible sale of the Glenn Curtiss Memorial School.
The Curtiss school was on the agenda of the Wednesday, July 13, reorganizational meeting. Superintendent Kyle Bower said the Hammondsport Central school board of education would decide what it wanted to do with the Curtiss school within the next month or so. The school board also held a 45 minute executive session to discuss real estate transactions, as well as the Hammondsport Teacher’s Association.
Bower spoke about how the sale of the school would affect state building aid reimbursement under the new state law. He explained the district is still getting paid aid from work done on the Curtiss school; the largest project was in 2003.
Bower said under the new law, if Hammondsport were to sell the school while still getting state aid, the sale price would be deducted from future aid reimbursements. Bower added the aid monies are still being paid back to the school over the next 25 years. For example, if the district were to sell the building for $300,000 (the price proposed previously with the town of Urbana), that amount would be cut from the total aid paid to the school over the next 25 years.
Board President Jim Zimar said the board needs more information before deciding what to do with the school. He said, “there’s no way it’s going to happen quickly.” However, Bower added if the board decides in August it wants to put the school up for sale again, it will decide how to do so.
The board previously agreed to sell the now empty school to the town of Urbana, Jan. 19, 2011. However, district residents were opposed to the sale so they started a petition that forced a referendum vote, May 17, where the sale was voted down.
Two new people have come forward as interested buyers of the Glenn Curtiss Memorial School, even though the Hammondsport board of education has made no decision to sell the school yet.
During public comment on the school, the two potential buyers spoke about what they each wanted to do with the school. The first was developer Jim Keena, who has already purchased and renovated nine buildings in Hammondsport. He said he started making plans for the school when it was first put up for sale and wants to turn the building into luxury apartments; seven on the first floor and nine on the second floor. Keena added he wants to turn the gymnasium into a Fitness Club, which would be open to the public as well. He said the apartments would be the same quality as those he is building at the Opera House on Shethar Street.
Simon Sananas was the second speaker interested in buying the school. He said he wants to turn the building into a nonprofit art museum and cultural center. Sananas explained he wants to create a place where blind and disabled children can come for art therapy. He added artists from around the world would be invited to showcase art and use space as workshops. Sananas also said the center would host programs for area students and educators.
Two other members of the public spoke, restating the property should be on the tax rolls. Resident George Brayer said he did not want to see it sold to Urbana, but to a developer like Keena.
When the school was first available for sale, one interested party was Carmen and Dale Kramer. However, the two did not attend the July 13 meeting. Carmen Kramer said she and her husband would be unlikely to make another offer on the school if the district wanted to sell it again. She said it has been a year since they needed the space to expand their business and have made do in other ways.