School board sets June 18 public vote on $1.1 million house purchase for offices, Colonial playground

314 Pelhamdale Ave.

314 Pelhamdale Ave.

The Board of Education voted 7-0 at a special meeting Wednesday to set a public vote for June 18 asking voters to approve spending as much as $1.1 million to purchase the home at 314 Pelhamdale Ave. for administrative offices and playground space for Colonial School.

The board also unanimously approved a proposed contract for the purchase of the home, which sits behind the south wing of Colonial School and next to its playground.

Superintendent Cheryl Champ was authorized to execute the contract, according to the resolution.

According to a statement released by the school board Thursday, “If approved, the property could provide expanded playground and green space for Colonial School, which is currently very limited because of its location in a residential neighborhood. The existing house could be used as office space for district administration, reducing the need to rent offices for administrators who are planned to vacate their current offices in Pelham Memorial High School to make way for additional classrooms. Additionally, purchasing the property could provide future boards flexibility to consider expansion of Colonial School if and when the situation warrants.”

The school board said the district plans to pay for the purchase using undesignated reserve funds so the the acquisition would require no increase in taxes or borrowing.

The house will require renovations for use as administrative offices, according to a board resolution.

“Throughout the bond process last year, the board identified a number of issues with respect to Colonial School, including a lack of outdoor space and the inability to expand the building to absorb increasing future enrollment if we need to,” said Board of Education President Sue Bratone Childs in the statement.

“Unfortunately there is very little that can be done to resolve these issues due to the ‘landlocked’ nature of Colonial School,” Bratone said. “The opportunity to purchase contiguous property is rare and as a board we feel that doing so is a viable way to create opportunities to address some of those issues in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Importantly, moving district offices into the existing house would allow us to re-purpose funds currently allocated for rental office space to meet other facilities needs within the district.” reported 314 Pelhamdale Ave is for sale by its owner for $1.18 million.

In April, Champ told the Colonial PTA, “The board is actively in conversations with all neighbors regarding adjacent property. The board started this research last year and has a process in place.”

The vote will be held in the main gym of Pelham Memorial High School between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on the June 18.