Meagher ren­o­va­tion plan will go to vot­ers

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

Kingston school dis­trict vot­ers in May will de­cide whether to con­vert the school to a dis­trict of­fice and Pre-K.

Vot­ers will be asked in May 2017 whether the Kingston school dis­trict should spend $4.23 mil­lion to turn a for­mer el­e­men­tary school into the dis­trict’s main of­fice and a prekinder­garten fa­cil­ity.

The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion voted 7-0 Wed­nes­day to seek ap­proval of the plan for the for­mer Frank L. Meagher El­e­men­tary School, which is on Wynkoop Place in Mid­town Kingston and has sat un­used for more than four years.

Trustees Danielle Guido and Kath­leen Collins ab­sent from Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing.

The plan calls for ul­ti­mately ren­o­vat­ing six class­rooms for pre-K use, though per­haps not all at once. The project would be car­ried out based on need.

“If we can only fill two class­rooms that first year, we’ll only build two class­rooms,” Trustee Robin Ja­cobowitz said. “We’re not go­ing to ramp us to the full amount if we can’t fill all the rooms.”

The project is to be funded with $527,198 in state aid, $1 mil­lion from an an­tic­i­pated sale of dis­trict’s cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing in Uptown Kingston and $2.68 mil­lion from a dis­trict cap­i­tal re­serve ac­count.

Ar­chi­tect Bryan Man­ning said the amount of state aid is be­ing es­ti­mated con­ser­va­tively, with a larger amount pos­si­ble de­pend­ing on how much other work in the build­ing qual­i­fies as re­lated to class­room ren­o­va­tions.

“I think the aid is only go­ing to get bet­ter,” he said. “By how much? I’m not sure. We have to ne­go­ti­ate that.”

School board mem­bers see the re­use of the Meagher build­ing, which was shut down at the end of the 2011-12 school year, as good for the Mid­town neigh­bor­hood where it sits.

“I be­lieve that we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to look at what our prop­er­ties are in the dis­trict and uti­lize them to their best ad­van­tage,” Trustee Suzanne Jordan said. “I think that, since Meagher school was closed, there has been a neg­a­tive im­pact on that com­mu­nity and just the vi­tal­ity of that area. You just change the en­ergy of that area.”

The Meagher school is a 31,600-square-foot build­ing on a 3.6-acre prop­erty, ac­cord­ing to Ul­ster County. It’s as­sessed value was $2,336,000 in 2012 but fell to $540,000 for 2013 and 2014.

The build­ing dates to 1874, but ad­di­tions were built in 1917 1961, and 1996.

Kingston school dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Padalino said the board is ex­pected to re­ceive a re­port soon on a pro­posal to mar­ket the Cioni Build­ing, where the ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices are.

“What I hope to do is work with our at­tor­neys and our real es­tate bro­ker to come to the board, prob­a­bly at the next meet­ing, with a pro­posal ... as far as what an RFP (re­quest for pro­pos­als) should look like and when we should go out” to so­licit of­fers, he said.

The board in 2014 re­jected two of­fers for the Cioni build­ing, which is at 61 Crown St.

Re­cently, the dis­trict was told a de­vel­oper rep­re­sent­ing Grupo Habita is ready to move for­ward with a $1 mil­lion of­fer to buy the build­ing and turn it into a 34-room lux­ury ho­tel.

FREE­MAN FILE

The for­mer Frank L. Meagher El­e­men­tary School is on Wynkoop Place in Mid­town Kingston.

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