Meagher renovation plan will go to voters
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.
The former Frank L. Meagher Elementary School is on Wynkoop Place in Midtown Kingston.