Beekmantown After six years laying dormant, school district officials are considering options for the former West Chazy School building.
During a meeting of the school board Jan. 24, Beekmantown Central Superintendent Scott Amos opened a dialogue regarding the former school building, questioning if the district should continue using it for storage, or place it up for sale
“In tough economic times, such as these, we need to question does the board want to use the building any longer,” Amos said.
In 2005 the West Chazy School, on Academy Street, was closed due to low enrollments. The students from West Chazy merged with Beekmantown Central School District.
Over the past few years the district has used the building as a storage facility for used school equipment. The district has managed to keep the basic upkeep, maintenence and heating cost of the building at a minimum cost of $20,000 a year.
“We’ve economized the upkeep well and have been able to drop the cost more and more each year,” Amos said.
The board must also determine if the district owns the building that houses the Dodge Memorial Library — adjacent to the former school, Amos said. The ownership of the library has not been determined since the last assessment of the school property, according to Amos.
“We are truly uncertain if it belongs to the school,” Amos said. “We’re going to do a history of ownership, search through deeds to see who owns the library.”
Currently the Dodge Memorial Library receives its water and sewer through the former school building. If the district decides to sell the building, Amos said he hopes the new owners would choose to continue providing that service for the library. Otherwise, the library must determine a new way to get their water and sewer services provided.
“We provide the water for the library now as a service to the library for serving our community so well,” Amos said. “But we need to consider if holding onto the building for the sole purpose of supplying water to the library is a good reason.”
Over the next few weeks the school board will consult with lawyers over the district’s options. The district could put the property up for sale or look into allowing another community group to take over the property.
The estimated value of the West Chazy School building is about $100,000, Amos said.
“There are a few things we need to consider; liability, upkeep and the benefits of keeping the property for just storage,” School Board Member Richard LaVigne said.
Amos said the board of education will continue to discuss the issue.
“It will be one we address pretty regularly.”