Village's school purchase proposal to go before voters

DANNEMORA - The former Dannemora Elementary School could have a new owner - that is if the village board of trustees gets approval from taxpayers next week.

The village will hold a referendum Tuesday, Jan. 11, which will ask voters whether or not the municipality should take out a 30-year bond to cover the $350,000 cost of purchasing the old school building.

"I think it's a great deal. There's no way you could put a building up like this for that kind of money," said Mayor Michael Bennett, adding the 7.1 acres of land that comes with the building adds to its value.

The village has plans, if approved, to relocate its offices from the former railroad depot just up the street, with the potential of other organizations helping them fill up the 22,363 sq. ft. building. According to a preliminary sketch provided by the village, space would be made available for the Dannemora Free Library, New York State Police and the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties food shelf to relocate from their respective locations within the village, giving them more room and improved access for the public. A community center would also be established and the school's former gymnasium would be utilized by the village's youth commission. There'd even be room for the village historian to establish a "mini-museum," said Bennett, with room left over for other interested organizations.

However, the mayor emphasized the preliminary plans are just that - preliminary.

"There's nothing in stone," said Bennett.

The official cost to move the village offices has not been determined as the village has not had crews in to assess the work to be done for utilities and the like, said Bennett.

"We've had companies approach us, but they really want to be able to get into the building to give us a price," said Bennett. "But, from what we've been told and from what we've seen, the building's been really maintained. It was even upgraded just before they closed it."

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