School Surplus About To Grow

With six schools likely to be vacant at the beginning of next school year, the Warren County School District is exploring options for future use.

“There has been come public inquiry as to what the district intends to do” with some of the vacant properties, WCSD Director of Building and Grounds Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht said at the school board’s Physical Plant and Facilities Committee meeting on Monday.

The schools that will be vacant include Sheffield, Russell, Sugar Grove, Pleasant and Allegheny Valley elementary schools as well as the South Street Early Learning Center

At Allegheny Valley, the district’s server farm is currently housed there and Kennerknecht said that it “will take a little bit of time and effort and dollars to reconfigure that.”

He explained, “We need to keep some place within there for the servers until we have a long-term plan on moving them to another building.”

Russell is the “goal” for that move, he said.

That leaves South Street, Sugar Grove and Sheffield “vacant and not particularly used,” he said.

Of those three, Sugar Grove, in addition to Allegheny Valley, is unique because it does still currently house students. Kennerknecht said, “We did have a letter of inquiry from (Sugar Grove Borough) wanting to know what the district intended to do with the building.”

But South Street and Sheffield Elementary can be moved more rapidly.

And that process will start at the board’s Dec. 5 meeting with a motion authorizing the sale of the property in addition to required language in the motion indicating that the facilities are “unused and unnecessary.” The committee selected a sealed bids option as opposed to a public auction or private sale.

Board member Mary Anne Paris asked what the timetable would be to get the facilities ready for a sale. Kennerknecht said that he would prefer the buildings not go for sale before Beaty-Warren Middle School is in full use in January and everything is moved back in.

As a result, sale documents for South Street and Sheffield are likely to come before the board for consideration in January with Sugar Grove and Allegheny Valley to be explored over the summer once the K-12 projects are completed at Eisenhower and Sheffield, respectively.

The Anderson Building, adjacent to Beaty-Warren Middle School on Conewango Avenue across from Jackson Avenue, will likely be kept in district possession. Kennerkecht said that the district has “the intention of moving the maintenance (department) out of the Tab Building at the Warren State Hospital and occupying the Anderson building and portions of Pleasant Elementary. We need Pleasant Elementary to (support) our storage needs.”

He added that Pleasant Elementary is “more or less a warehouse for district equipment and supplies,” indicating that there are many things in storage at Pleasant that are likely to be auctioned in the spring.

Committee chair Donna Zariczny proposed that the vacant building issue be included on future committee agendas for the foreseeable future.