Ambridge Area School Board approved an agreement Wednesday with The Watson Institute to lease the former Anthony Wayne Elementary School in Ambridge.
The Watson Institute provides education, support and programs for children and youth with special needs. The $4,000-per-month lease is for one year and Watson will pay all utilities.
As part of the lease, the district will prepare the building for Watson, which facilities director Gerald Kronstain said will involve fixing 10 broken windows and making lighting repairs.
Watson is responsible for improvements -- estimated to cost $35,000 to $40,000 -- snow removal, and repairs under $1,000. The district would cover repairs over $1,000 and lawn maintenance, officials said.
Kronstain said the heating and cooling system was working well when it was shut down and will be tested. He is also checking with the Ambridge Water Authority to see if there are any water problems due to a higher-than-usual water bill for one billing cycle.
The board voted 7-1 to approve the lease, with board members Roger Kowal and Robert Keber voting against the agreement.
Kowal said he doesn’t believe the school district should be a landlord of any type.
“I think we’re leaving ourselves open for a lot of different things and I just don't think we should be involved in this.”
Zurchin said she is excited about the agreement.
“The amount that we would receive to rent Anthony Wayne, means we would no longer have to pay the utility bills at Anthony Wayne, which far exceeds the cost of what it would cost for a bus to transport students.”
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