NEW BERLIN — Tear it down or renovate: those are the two prevailing ideas of what to do with the New Berlin Elementary School building, given the opinion of nearly 50 people who attended last month’s Borough Council meeting.
The large crowd, quite a size for a New Berlin meeting, came with thoughtful ideas and a lot of feedback, council President Juli Finkbiner said.
“We had some good discussion and questions, and most people gave back their questionnaires” about what to do with the former elementary school, which closed in 2012.
“Many were in favor of demolishing the building, and a few wanted to renovate but quite a few were undecided,” she said. Many attendees suggested the borough “think very hard before becoming landlords,” Finkbiner said, adding she agrees. “It is a big undertaking.”
A retirement community or assisted-living facility were two suggestions for the property.
Some also suggested using the cafeteria as an indoor children’s recreation area, senior center and gathering place, closing off the classrooms.
“It is a big decision,” Finkbiner said. “We want to do what is best for the community and have it be the will of the people driving it since we may have to raise taxes to help finance something.”
The borough closed on the purchase of the former school property in late December 2012, paying $244,000 for it. The Mifflinburg school board closed three outlying elementary schools in a money-saving effort.