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Dan Hust | Democrat

Sullivan West’s board agreed this week to begin the process of putting the circa-1928 Narrowsburg school up for sale, utilizing a real estate company via a bidding process.

For Sale: Narrowsburg School

By Dan Hust
LAKE HUNTINGTON — June 25, 2010 — The Sullivan West school board has officially put the Narrowsburg school up for sale.
Asking price: at least $700,000, its appraised market value.
SW officials are aiming much higher, but not even board member Noel van Swol – who voted against the resolution at Wednesday’s regular board meeting – is saying they’ll come close to the millions poured into the 82-year-old school’s renovations and upkeep over the past decade.
“I have considerable reservations about this,” van Swol told his fellow board members, saying the purchase price should be tied to the school’s replacement cost rather than fair market value.
In fact, van Swol had previously proposed a minimum selling price of $3 million, eventually dropping that to $1.5 million.
“I don’t want to give it away,” he said. “I am deeply concerned we are preparing to sell valuable Narrowsburg real estate… for peanuts at the bottom of the real estate market. I cannot support such financial irresponsibility.”
He advocated for requiring a marketing/feasibility study from each bidder on the school. That didn’t garner any board support, but van Swol’s proposal to amend the resolution to ensure all bids have formal board approval did pass.
Board members Rose Crotty and Angela Daley said they share van Swol’s concerns about not selling the Narrowsburg school for too low a price, but both added that they’re confident the bid process will help the district avoid that.
Thus, van Swol remained the sole opposition to the resolution. The vote was 7-1, with board member Ken Cohen absent.
“The next step is we’ll send out requests for bids to Realtors in the area,” said Supt. Ken Hilton, explaining that a real estate professional will be secured at a competitive price to handle the marketing and sale of the school.
“We will not use sealed bids,” he added.
Those interested in bidding information can contact Assistant Supt. for Administrative Services Larry Lawrence at 482-4610, ext. 3003.
Meanwhile, a committee of community members has been working with the district to identify the best use for the Narrowsburg school.
Narrowsburg resident Jane Luchsinger reported to the board on Wednesday that the group has identified that best use as a “boutique hotel,” given that the building sits in the middle of Narrowsburg’s densest residential area, right along a main route into town.
“But we need money,” she acknowledged.
The committee is trying to get in touch with everyone who graduated from Narrowsburg over the decades.
“We’re sending them a letter to see if they want to be investors in the project,” Luchsinger related.
The group is also meeting with the county’s Industrial Development Agency in July to explore options.
For more information or to participate, Luchsinger welcomes calls at 252-3864.

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