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Sheriff’s Office eyes Clarksville Elementary

Move would dramatically shift police operations, create efficiencies

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.

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.

— The Albany County Sheriff’s Office is looking into leasing the closed Clarksville Elementary School from the Bethlehem Central School District to use as a substation.

Acting Sheriff Craig Apple will appear before the BC school board this evening to discuss the possibility.

“About a month ago, Craig Apple approached our operations and asked us if Clarksville was available for leasing,” BC Superintendent Michael Tebbano said, adding that the process is still in the early stages.

“We certainly don’t have any information about costs, we have to negotiate all that with the county attorney’s office,” he said.

Apple said the deal could be a win-win for the county and district. He would hope to consolidate the operations of the Sheriff’s Office’s facilities in Voorheesville and Cohoes under one roof, which would create efficiencies and maybe even free up resources to put more deputies on the road instead of behind desks.

Clarksville is a perfect location and facility, he said.

“I was a little skittish at first because I knew it was an older building, then I heard they had dumped a lot of money into it,” Apple said. “Quite honestly, it’s a home run. It’s large enough, it has a cafeteria, it has a gym.”

The building wouldn’t need much work, he continued, and the Sheriff’s Office wouldn’t hold prisoners there. There would only be holding cells, just as at the current patrol offices.

Bethlehem shuttered the school this year as a cost savings measure. There were no plans to sell off the building, but having a tenant could present a new revenue stream to the district, which like schools across the state is dealing with rising costs and less state funding.

“We’re always looking for an opportunity to find new revenue streams,” Tebbano said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be super significant, but in this day and age every little bit helps.”

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