Lockport solicits buyers for closed elementary school - The Buffalo News

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Lockport solicits buyers for closed elementary school

LOCKPORT – The Lockport City School District is seeking purchase offers for the former Washington Hunt Elementary School, even though neither the Board of Education nor the voters have approved the sale.

Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley said the board may vote Wednesday to place the sale on the May 20 ballot. She promised Friday that voters will know who the buyer is and what his plans are before they go to the polls.

The district published a legal notice Thursday announcing it will accept offers until 4 p.m. March 28 for the Rogers Avenue school, which closed last June.

“We’re taking offers to see if anybody is interested,” Bradley said, adding, “There has been some interest.”

R. Charles Bell, city planning and development director, said he has been contacted by a potential buyer for the school, whom Bell characterized as “definitely serious.” He didn’t disclose further information about that possible deal.

The city Building Inspection Department said the school is located in an R-1 zone, which means single-family residential housing only. Thus, any reuse for the building would require either a variance or a rezoning.

The two-story school offers 33,200 square feet of space. Bradley said Darrel R. Lloyd Jr. of IREM Solutions, an Amherst company, recently appraised it at $195,000.

Bradley said the School Board has until April 2 to vote to place the sale on the ballot for the May 20 election, which also will include a slate of board members, the budget and an advisory proposition to see if voters favor granting partial school tax exemptions to military veterans.

Bradley said, “If they put it on the ballot, by that time, they would have to know who the interested party is and how much they are willing to pay for it.”

If there is more than one offer, Bradley said, the district would have to consult with its attorneys on a course of action.

The district’s main legal counsel is Jeffrey F. Swiatek of the Hodgson Russ law firm, but the board also may vote Wednesday on adding the Webster Szanyi firm to its legal team.

“They approached us. We do have some situations we want to use them for,” Bradley said.

Webster Szanyi would get a four-month trial run working on cases of homeless children who want to come to school. “We’re obligated to take them,” Bradley said, but there are legal requirements set by federal law that need to be reviewed.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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