After six months of preparation, North Tonawanda School District officials are about ready to ask the state's permission to set up a central storage facility in the Tri-City Community Outreach building on Ridge Road.
The facility will provide the district, through a rental agreement, 8,500 square feet of storage space at a cost of $12,750 a year.
That comes to $1.50 per square foot in a market where the standard rent runs $5 to $7 per square foot annually, district officials said.
Stephen Scordato, the district's superintendent of buildings and grounds, said the district needs the facility to house equipment, supplies and furniture now stored at five locations.
Although the board approved storage plans last summer, the district needed time to prepare a request to the state Education Department for "a certificate of occupancy."
One of the last steps was a fire inspection, which was conducted Thursday by a safety risk specialist with the Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
The Tri-City facility will result in a better inventory and accountability of the district's property and supplies, Scordato said.
When the School Board first considered the measure in May, then-School Superintendent John H. George said a secured central location would "make it easy for the district to inventory what it has and take better care of its property."
"That's not limited to custodial and maintenance supplies," he said.
The district also stores surplus furniture and athletic equipment, including tackling sleds and other bulky items.
"With a central storage facility," George said, "we can keep them indoors and away from the elements."