Bethlehem Central School District closed Clarksville Elementary School starting in the 2011-12 school year to save money. Now, it appears the Albany County Sheriff's Office may be interested in leasing the property for use as a substation.
Photo by Charles Wiff.
Board member Laura Berman asked Kehoe if there was any way to write a clause in the contract to ensure that the district has the say over any structural changes to the building.
“It will be very restrictive so that we can ensure that it gets returned to us in the same condition,” said Kehoe.
Besides the additional revenue, the district would also save money under an agreement with the Sheriff’s Office for policing work. Last year alone, the district spent about $29,000 for security patrols at the high school at the end of the school year. Those were handled by Bethlehem Police Department. Apple has offered to conduct those patrols for the district as an in-kind service.
Members of the public were given a chance to ask Kehoe questions about the proposed agreement. Questions ranged from concerns over securing rooms with weapons and evidence to maintaining equipment such as school desks and library materials that are still in the building.
Kehoe said the district is still working many of the details of the proposal, but outgoing Superintendent Michael Tebbano said the district has taken steps to ensure that all district property is maintained.
“When the school closed, our Operations and Maintenance staff video recorded the entire facility and logged where everything was in the building,” said Tebbano. “When we return back to the status of the school, that will be a key feature for us to be able to ensure that everything is back where it is supposed to be.”
Tebbano also said that the district would like to see murals and wall hangings at the school preserved, adding that they are many ways to keep and protect some of the work that students have done in previous years.
Kehoe said the Sheriff’s Office is still interested in allowing the community to use the building as well. The school would remain an emergency shelter for nearby residents, community room space would likely be available, and the playground at the building would be maintained.
The board would still have to approve a proposed agreement, but there was no discussion of when a vote might occur. Kehoe said the Sheriff has indicated that the department could be ready to move into the building by the spring.