Frank Rizzo | Democrat
The former Delaware Valley Central School, closed down after the centralization that created Sullivan West, was sold yesterday, along with its 11 acres. The new owners intend to create a private school catering to international students.
DV school sold
Story by Dan Hust
CALLICOON September 24, 2013 Sullivan West Supt. Nancy Hackett confirmed late yesterday afternoon that the former Delaware Valley Central School has been sold for $1.16 million.
“The documents were signed, and the check will be overnighted,” she said.
Yesterday, Emily Yu signed off on closing documents already approved by the Sullivan West district, which was eager to sell the 60-year-old, 100,000-square-foot building and surrounding land after closing it eight years ago due to financial difficulties.
Yu could not be reached for comment yesterday, but she’s previously expressed an intent to site a branch of her Flushing-based Windsor School at the site, utilizing the existing building and acreage she’s bought from both SW and neighbor Richard Winter.
“Our understanding is that it’s going to be another educational campus to house students from outside the United States to get an education inside the United States,” Hackett explained.
The Windsor School’s website says it offers a college-prep curriculum for foreign-born and domestic students in grades 7-12. International pupils (primarily Asian and Spanish) are also taught English and can earn U.S. high school diplomas, in anticipation of attending American universities.
Yu’s team has been working with Town of Fremont officials to determine what permits and changes are needed to erect dormitories for around 200 or more students, switch the property to a taxpaying entity, and create athletic fields on the 67 acres.
Eleven acres were involved in yesterday’s sale. While the SW board had signed off on the agreement in January, the closing was held up until now because of delays with the purchase of Winter’s neighboring 56 acres. Reportedly, the last piece to be hammered out was an easement for Winter’s cattle to reach a spring.
Those 56 acres once were part of the DV school property but were separately sold to Winter prior to Yu expressing interest. Unlike the 11 acres in yesterday’s sale, SW retained the mineral rights underneath the 56 acres. Though Hackett said SW currently has no interest in developing those rights, they remain with the property even after Yu’s purchase.
The sale removes a significant annual upkeep expense from SW’s budget. Even though the DV building and adjacent bus garage were closed tight and utilities turned off, the district was still spending thousands every year to maintain the property in reasonable shape.
The $1.16 million check from Yu and company will be used to pay down the remaining debt on improvements made to the structure a decade ago, as part of the merger of the DV, Jeffersonville-Youngsville and Narrowsburg districts into SW.
Closed at the same time and for the same reason as DV, the much older Narrowsburg building located in the heart of the hamlet itself remains for sale for $700,000. While there’s interest in the structure, acceptable financial offers have yet to come the SW board’s way.
Regardless, the sale of DV is a high point for a district struggling with rising costs and dwindling population.
“I’m delighted,” SW Board President Mary Scheutzow affirmed yesterday. “I think we were all holding our breath!”
She and Hackett particularly look forward to the cultural opportunities that may arise from the new private school.
“I think it will be exciting to have a vibrant campus again,” said Hackett, who anticipates talking with Yu and company about education and collaboration. “They can learn from us, and we can learn from them.”