Prospect eyes Center Street property
REGION 16 — Region 16 school officials are moving forward with the process of selling Community School and they already have an interested buyer — the town of Prospect.
The Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, directed Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin last week to begin the process of assessing the value of the school. Yamin said the first step is to get an appraisal of the property and the building.
The school, located at 12 Center St. in Prospect, will close this year and students will attend the new Prospect Elementary School in the fall.
According to online land records, the property is 3.26 acres. The total appraisal of the land and the building is about $4.25 million, according to land records. The appraisal is based on the market value of real property at the time of the last revaluation in Prospect, which was in 2011, according to the records.
The town of Prospect has expressed interest in the property.
The town has been buying land along Center Street, which officials consider to be the center of town, when possible. The latest purchase came last October when residents approved buying the house and property at 3 Center St. for $220,000 at a town meeting.
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.
Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said the town will get its own appraisal done. A committee will also be formed to review the costs associated with owning the building, he said.
Chatfield envisions of variety of uses for the building, including as a recreational center as well as a space for civic organizations to meet or hold fundraisers. He added a generator could be bought for the building in order to use it as an emergency shelter.
“The uses are endless for (the building),” Chatfield said.
The purchase of the property would ultimately have to be approved by Prospect voters, Chatfield said.
Yamin said the property will be offered to the town first. If the town doesn’t buy it, he said, it will be put on the open market. The sale of the school will have to be approved by voters, he said.
The money from the sale will be returned to Prospect and Beacon Falls. It will be divided between the towns based on the average daily membership ratio of students, which is roughly 60 percent Prospect and 40 percent Beacon Falls.
Yamin said he would like to have the school sold by October. Community School will be used for summer school this year because remediation work is planned for Long River Middle School in Prospect, he said.
In a story released in the Waterbury Republican and yet to be released here due to timing of the meeting, the appraisal for the property came in at $1.2 million or approximately $3 million below the 2011 appraised value mentioned in this original article. At a time when property values are starting to rebound, this appraisal seems low. The town of Beacon Falls may be best advised to commission its own appraisal and not just take the single appraisal report just announced.