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.
continued Under the agreement, any changes to the building need the consent of the district, and no changes can be made that would prohibit the building from once again being used as a school. All utility costs are now the responsibility of the county and the district will maintain “structural components of the building” and any “major heating, energy management and septic systems.”
According to the district, the agreement will result in a $355,000 savings over the five-year term.
Sheriff Craig Apple said the lease will result in savings for the county as well. He said the department will save $50,000 a year through the initial agreement, before adding in the money they will save in “logistics” like copy machines and computer licensing fees, which the school district already had in place in the building. The county will also receive $12,000 in rent once the New Scotland Town Court is moved into the building later in the year.
The sheriff’s office has obtained a federal grant for several upgrades to the building. The money will be used to install a fence, several cameras and an additional generator so the substation can stay in operation in emergency situations. Apple said he is still waiting for the paperwork to be signed before the work can begin.
“We’re occupying a building that could have been a target for vandals had it been left empty,” he said. “This is the work of two governments cooperating to do a good thing.”
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said the agreement is a prime example of the consolidation he has been promoting since the start of his administration.
“The sheriff has been leading the way on this project, which will also help save the taxpayers money,” he said in a statement. “We need to be looking for ways to cut costs, share services and be smarter about running county government.”