DANVILLE — School officials plan to negotiate with Riverside borough leaders for the possible sale of the former Riverside Elementary School, the Danville Area School Board decided on Wednesday night.
One board member urged caution, though, about rushing into a sale before the district completes its feasibility study, which is just getting under way and could take six months, according to Superintendent Ricki Boyle.
Bonnie Edmeads said she is not opposed to negotiating the sale of the school, as long as the potential buyers are aware the board might decide not to sell it if board members decide to keep the 14-acre property.
She proposed a motion to not decide on selling the school property until the feasibility study was completed, but the motion failed 8-1, with Edmeads the only affirmative vote.
She said discussions about what to do with the former school have been kicked around a long time.
"We need to take into account the taxpayers and the properties we lease," Edmeads said. "That’s 14 acres of land that we own. Are we sure that we want to give that land up?"
The district, under former Superintendent Jason Bendle, considered razing the school and selling the property in recent years, but those plans changed.
Before Wednesday night's discussion, Riverside Borough Council President John Domanski and Councilman Peter Fleming addressed the board in person to talk about the borough's interest in the school property.
"Acquiring the elementary property would be a great birthday present for us," said Domanski, who noted the borough is celebrating its 150th birthday this year.
Fleming said borough officials would like to consolidate all borough offices into one location.
"It also would lend itself nicely to a community room and and emergency facility," he said, noting a railroad line goes through the borough and if chemical cars derail, people would need to evacuate to somewhere.
Fleming said the property also would be a good place for outside recreation.
"Everybody likes recreation," he said. "There are many walkable streets in Riverside, but the number of vehicles is increasing."
Riverside Elementary School, along with the Mahoning-Cooper and Danville elementaries, were replaced by the Danville Primary School in 2012.
The Mahoning-Cooper school, in Mahoning Township, was sold for $200,000 to T&S Realty, which leases out space in the building to businesses. Montour County bought the former Danville Elementary School last year for $750,000.