Offer on BC building accepted

School’s Out to buy old admin offices, but town approval still needed

— After more than a year on the market, the Bethlehem Central School District may be close to selling its former administration building.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Chief Business and Financial Officer Judith Kehoe said an offer had been made to buy the property by School’s Out, Inc. The property at 90 Adams St. had originally been listed for $650,000, but the price was dropped to $575,000 this month.

The offer placed by School’s Out came in at $475,000 and was reluctantly approved by Board of Education.

“Well, I wish we could have gotten more, but in today’s market it’s understandable,” said board member Lynne Lenhardt.

The building was vacated by staff in April and has since been “mothballed,” meaning the facility’s power has been turned off and the thermostat turned down, according to BC Operations and Maintenance Director Gregg Nolte. It has cost about $8,000 for basic heating and maintenance since then.

The sale is not yet final, however. Kehoe said the sale has to go before the town’s planning and zoning boards because the property sits in a residential-zoned area. Since it was owned by the school district its use was previously grandfathered in by the town. A transfer of the property means it would have to meet the zoning code or be granted an exemption.

Officials from School’s Out declined comment until the sale is finalized.

School’s Out is a non-profit organization in Delmar, which operates child care programs before and after school. They also have vacation care, half-day care and special needs programs.

Kehoe said the two entities plan to meet with the Planning Board in January. She said she expects the board to inquire about what new plans are in store for the building and if they will cause an increase in traffic. Though the property is just one block from Delaware Avenue, it is surrounded by homes.

“I don’t think there will be a considerable impact,” Kehoe said, adding a neighborhood meeting is being planned to address any concerns of residents nearby. The Planning Board is also likely to schedule a public hearing.

Kehoe said any money from the sale counts as revenue for the district, but there is still some debt on the building. That means the money will go into a reserve fund and will be streamed into the budget over several years until the debt is paid off.

The district expects the sale to be finalized within the next two months.

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