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SWR hires realtor to facilitate sale or lease of former Briarcliff school

08/28/2019 5:51 AM |

The historic building that was once the only elementary school in Shoreham will soon be up for sale.

The Shoreham-Wading River Board of Education approved a contract with Nest Seekers International Realtors of Southampton last Tuesday to facilitate the sale and or lease of the former Briarcliff School property located at 18 Tower Hill Road.

The school closed in 2014 when administrators cited declining enrollment throughout the district. At the time, district officials said the future of the 10.54-acre property would be determined by community input.

Two representatives from Nest Seekers, Jason McCue and Stephanie Stevens, provided the board with information about the potential sale or lease at last Tuesday’s board meeting.

“It is our goal and desire to work hand-in-hand with the school board and the Village Zoning and Building departments as they have to make decisions as to what should be done with the property,” Ms. Stevens said.

Ms. Stevens said the property should be listed for sale and lease around the first week of September. After photographs are taken of the main building, different types of collateral material will be released — one for lease and one for development, she said, which will be disseminated to developers, she said.

She mentioned that some local charter schools may be interested in the property, but did not disclose which schools would be interested.

Board president Michael Lewis said the board is anxious to pursue the lease or sale of the property.

“It’s been a long process, but we’re at this point,” he said.

Assistant superintendent for finance and operations Glen Arcuri said Tuesday that the total budget for the building during the 2018-19 school year was $86,000. This year’s budget was reduced to $66,000. He said he could not provide an estimate cost taxpayers contribute toward the property. According to the school agenda, after a request for proposal was sent out for a real estate broker regarding the property, only two responses were received.

Ms. Stevens said the Nest Seekers team was “thrilled” to fill out the RFP and become involved with “helping the community decide what to do with the property.”

Mr. Arcuri said due to the cost of keeping the building in good condition, he does not anticipate much work needs completed inside the building prior to a sale or lease. The decision to partner with Nest Seekers comes after nearly two years of public discussions about the property. During three public forums in 2018, community members were urged to provide input on the matter and suggest possible uses for the facility. In a February 2018 presentation, district officials pitched multiple uses for building, including selling the property, leasing it to BOCES as a school, keeping it closed, relocating the central offices into the building, establishing a pre-kindergarten program, expanding summer programs or attaining historic landmark status to acquire preservation funding.

The property has a rich history: the 15-room Norman-style mansion was built in 1907, according to the school district. In 1950, the school was sold to Shoreham-Wading River for $30,500. An additional $42,000 was laid out to transform it into a public school, according to previous reports.

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