Board gets appraisal on school

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The Region 16 Board of Education has received a $1,225,000 appraisal on Community School in Prospect. –RA ARCHIVE
The Region 16 Board of Education has received a $1,225,000 appraisal on Community School in Prospect. –RA ARCHIVE

REGION 16 — A North Haven firm has appraised the Community School property in Prospect at $1,225,000.

Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin presented the appraisal to the Board of Education last week. Arthur B. Estrada & Associates, Inc. was hired by the school district to do the appraisal.

“I think this is a very thorough appraisal,” Yamin told the board.

Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, is preparing to sell the property. Community School will close this summer and students will attend the new Prospect Elementary School in the fall.

The property is located at 12 Center St. in Prospect. The parcel is 3.26 acres and the school contains 32,300 square feet of finished area, according to the appraisal presented to the board. The $1,225,000 appraisal reflects the “as is” market value and market conditions existing on April 29, 2015, the appraisal stated.

Yamin said, in a subsequent interview, the next step for the board is to discuss how it wants to proceed with selling the property.

The town of Prospect is interested in buying the property. Town officials envision a variety of uses for the building, including as a recreational center, space for civic organizations to meet or hold fundraisers, and as an emergency shelter.

The town has been buying land along Center Street when it became available for many years. There are only a few properties along Center Street the town does not own, including the school, the Prospect Congregational Church, and a residential property listed at 27 New Haven Road. The backyard of the residential property is located along Center Street.

Yamin said the towns of Beacon Falls and Prospect have the right to first refusal if Region 16 property becomes available. As of last week, he said, the district hasn’t received interest in Community School from any other party.

The town of Prospect is doing its due diligence before moving forward with potentially buying the property.

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield appointed a Community School Purchase Committee to review potentially buying the school. The committee was given 10 tasks including reviewing the status of the oil tanks on the property, reviewing the construction documents from when the building was updated for codes and obtaining a copy of the asbestos abatement report.

Chatfield said officials want reports on the state of the building before getting its own appraisal done. He said the committee is expected to give its report to the Town Council in July or August.

Land records available on the town of Prospect’s website list the appraisal of the property at about $4.2 million. This appraisal is based on the market value of real property at the time of the last revaluation in Prospect, which was in 2011, the property record card states.

The appraisal given to the school board was also sent to the towns of Beacon Falls and Prospect.

Beacon Falls First Selectman Christopher Bielik said the Board of Finance will discuss the appraisal at its meeting next week.

Voters in Beacon Falls and Prospect will ultimately have to approve the sale of the property. If Prospect moves forward with buying it, the purchase will have to be approved by voters in the town. The money from the sale will be returned to the towns.