Mayor Byron Brown has signed a contract to sell the former School 36 on Days Park to Elmwood Village Charter School for $550,000. The sale is expcted to close by the end of October.
The sale brings to a successful close a four-year effort of the Allentown Association and the Days Park Block Club to ensure a desirable reuse of the building. It was built in 1957 as a Buffalo public school which closed in June 2009. Charter schools are public schools independent of the Buffalo Board of Education.
The building will be renovated and go into use, with its playground, by Elmwood Village School in September 2012, said Elizabeth Evans, its board president. The school will continue to occupy the former Telephone Buildsing at124 Elmwood Ave. where it opened in 2005, and the new building will more than double the size of the school’s space, now about 24,000 square feet.
The current expansion of enrollment will continue, now about 250 in kindergarten through seventh grade, to about 400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, she said. The sixth and seventh grades are in rented space at First Presbyterian Church for the current school year. Which grades will occupy the Days Park building is still to be decided.
The sale has had to overcome a competing bid by Savarino Development to purchase the school and litigation challenging the city’s initial sale of the building to Elmwood Village School. Savarino Development, which had made a higher purchse offer, dropped its effort to acquire the building. The Allentown Association had supported the sale to Elmwood Village School as a more desirable use of the property and because of concern that it might remain vacant. Tapestry Charter School rented the building for the 2009-2010 school year.
Elmwood Village School has sufficient reserve funds to buy the building, but will have to finance renovations, Liz Evans said. An elevator will be installed, and improvements to the heating, ventilating and roof are needed, with discussions underway with architects, she added.
“This is an example of what a community can accomplish. We are very grateful for the community’s support,” she said.
When the closing of School 36 was announced, Days Park residents first hoped it could be converted to residential use, but interest by developers was lacking. The city acquired the property from the city school district when it closed. The Common Council and the city control board bothapproved the sale to Elmwood Village School.