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Closed elementary school sold

| Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006

FORD CITY -- The former East Franklin Elementary School closed its doors to students in June, and soon it will no longer be the property of Armstrong School District.

The Armstrong School Board voted 6-0 last night to sell the school to Manor Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Armstrong County Community Action Agency, for $202,000. Directors John Monroe and Tim Ashe were absent, and director Cindy Calarie abstained from the vote.

The board did not receive any other bids for the school and property which surrounds it, located along Butler Road roughly a mile east of the new school at West Hills which replaced it.

East Franklin and North Buffalo elementary schools were closed at the end of the last school year in June in favor of the newly-constructed West Hills Intermediate School and the newly-remodeled West Hills Primary School.

There was no information on what Manor Development intends to do with the building, and no representative was present at the board meeting last night.

The board sent packets to several different individuals and groups which had expressed interest in North Buffalo and East Franklin, but only received one other bid.

"The only offer we had for North Buffalo was $1 from North Buffalo Township," said Dale Kirsch, the district's business manager. He said the district has not yet decided what to do with that building.

The board had asked for minimum bids of $150,000 for each building, he said.

In other action at the meeting, Mark Follen, of Hayes Large Architects, said a study of the district's facilities is still in the process of being completed, and the board may get a presentation of the cost to maintain the status quo of buildings at its December meeting.

Hayes Large is currently in the process of assessing the condition of the buildings and the educational programs of the district, he said. Once the survey is completed, the architects will seek public input.

"We're looking at completing that prior to the first community meeting," Follen said. "There are a series of five community meetings that will take place."

The final version of the study, which could include plans for renovating the district's schools, will likely be complete by June, he said.

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