Pittston Area accepts offer on former kindergarten center

March 19th, 2015 9:08 pm

The Pittston Area School Board voted unanimously on Wednesday, March 18 to accept an offer of sale on the former Ben Franklin Kindergarten Center, 611 Walnut St., Dupont.

YATESVILLE — The Pittston Area School Board voted unanimously to accept an offer of sale for the former Ben Franklin Kindergarten Center, contingent on Dupont’s right of first refusal on the building, at a meeting Wednesday night.

Dupont may exercise its right of first refusal (ROFR) and purchase the building for the offer price. Pittston Area would not share the current offer made by Main Street Reality, LLC. Dupont has 45 days to act on the ROFR.

A right of first refusal is a contractual right that gives its holder the option to enter a business transaction with the owner of something before the owner is entitled to enter into that transaction with a third party.

The former kindergarten center is located at 611 Walnut St. in Dupont.

Dupont Council President Stanley Knick, who said the borough is interested in purchasing the property, is worried about what will go there if someone else buys the property.

“I’m worried what they are going to put there,” he said. “It’s in the middle of town. I don’t want property values to decrease.”

The Pittston Area School Board wouldn’t say what Main Street Reality, LLC’s plan is for the property, but did assure the audience and Knick that it would only benefit the town.

The board will give Dupont council all the information of the offer in the days following the meeting. The borough then has 45 days to act on their ROFR. Knick said the property was assessed for $700,000, which the borough wouldn’t pay.

“It’s been sitting empty for two years,” school board president Kent Bratlee said. “Obviously, we still have to expense it and heat it. We’re had it on the market for a while but haven’t had any buyers. We think it’s valuable to the district to get that money.”

The building has been dormant since July 2013 when the school board voted 7-1 to close the property. Students were then moved to the Pittston Area Primary Center on Rock Street in Hughestown.

When the board voted to close the school, an engineer said that within the next year or two, the roof, carpeting, HVAC, electrical system and fire alarm system all need to be upgraded at a cost of $1 million to $1.5 million. A full renovation of the school would cost $4.2 million to $5.8 million.

Knick said the borough has thrown around several ideas for the building. He said the town has always wanted senior housing.

“We have a lot of ideas,” he said. “We want to keep that field for the children in the town. We’re also looking to possibly put a new borough building in there. If the price is right we’re not going to leave that piece of property go.”

In other business:

• The following teachers notified the board of the retirement from the school district on the last day of the teacher work year: Theresa Ann Babonis, Primary Center; Sylvia Mariani, Intermediate Center; Nancy Preby, Intermediate Center; Jacqueline Pramick, Primary Center; Lisa Moreale, Primary Center; Nancy Kelly Rowe, Intermediate Center.

• The following were appointed to athletic coaching positions, pending clearances: Alexandra Holtz, assistant varsity softball; Richard Musinski, assistant varsity softball; Lauren Plis, assisant junior high softball; Gennaro Zangardi, assistant varsity baseball; Nicholas DeFebo, ninth grade baseball; Jason Miller, eighth grade baseball; Frank Licata, seventh grade baseball; Adison Hazlet, junior high softball scorekeeper; Jeremy Homschek, assistant boys tennis.

• Due to elections, the Tuesday, May 19 meeting of the school board has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 20.

• District Superintendent Dr. Michael Garzella, whose term of office expires on Oct. 8, 2015, was notified the board intends to consider another or other candidates for the office of District Superintendent with the understanding that Garzella may apply for the position if he desires.

The next meeting of the Pittston Area School Board will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21.