Building could be up for sale, again
The school board could decide in September to sell Apollo Elementary School -- again.
The district has three formal bids to consider plus one more possible offer, according to school board President Gregory Primm.
One of those offers is from Apollo Council, which wants to buy the school for $40,000 and transform it into a community building that would house offices for the borough and other organizations.
The board first agreed to sell the school to Apollo Borough for $30,000 nearly three years ago, but that decision was overturned in Armstrong County Court. The borough tried to appeal the court's ruling, but the state Supreme Court earlier this year refused to hear the case.
The borough since has upped its offer to $40,000, but some board and community members objected to it because the price is well below the building's $200,000 appraisal.
The district hired Howard Hanna Real Estate Services several months ago to put the school on the market for the first time and forward offers to the district.
Primm on Monday said three formal offers for the school have been made, including Apollo's. He said one other potential owner is in contact with the Realtor, although no official bid has been made.
Kiski Area School District and Gannon University teacher Katherine Green and her husband, Patrick, made one of the offers. Katherine Green on Monday said she would like to use the building for an education center.
She said she would like to provide space for adult education, including teacher training and classes for people without high school diplomas to acquire GEDs. She also would offer before- and after-school day care.
"We feel we have something to offer," she said.
Green would not say what she offered to pay for the building.
Primm said the bids will not be made public until the board acts on them, hopefully next month. Bids submitted to school districts usually must be opened and discussed in public, but Primm said the state Sunshine Act allows school districts to keep real estate bids private.
"That allows us to negotiate with the bidders and get the best deal for the community," Primm said.
Kiski Township resident Maynard Miller addressed the board on Monday and referenced an unidentified private contractor interested in converting the school into 12 apartments for senior citizens.
Primm said that contractor still is involved but has substantially altered his plans. Primm did not specify what the new proposal involves.
Miller arguably is the most vocal taxpayer protesting the sale to Apollo. He objects not only to selling the school for less than its worth, but also to the fact that it likely would be tax-exempt if owned by the municipality.
"It is highly recommended that the school board not consider any renewed bid offer by Apollo Borough," Miller said.
Apollo Council President John Ameno, upon learning of Green's proposal on Monday, said the borough's plans would include space for purposes such as hers.
Ameno and Green said they would talk to each other and see if they could create a joint proposal.
Primm said the district still will accept more offers, but he'd like them in hand before the board's work session on Sept. 18. Primm said he would like to see a decision made at the Sept. 25 voting meeting.
"This has gone on way too long," he said. "What we don't want is to get ready to make a decision and get a few more irons added to the fire."
Coming upWho: Apollo-Ridge School Board.
What: Expected discussion of Apollo Elementary School sale.
When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18.
Where: Apollo-Ridge High School board room, 1825 Route 56, Kiski Township.