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Tarrytown Schools Consider Leasing Tappan Hill

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – It'd be smarter to lease out the entire Tappan Hill School than to keep it closed, Superintendent Howard Smith said Thursday at the board of education meeting.

“There's a need to take care of the building,” he said, noting that buildings that sit closed tend to deteriorate. Smith said the district was considering leasing out the entire building to help pay to keep it in good shape.

The Union Free School District of the Tarrytowns closed the school in 2010 because of budget restraints. It currently leases out two classrooms to the Green Meadow Waldorf School . The school district has determined that it will not need to use the building for its educational purposes in the next five years.

Smith said the Waldorf School has expressed interest in expanding its lease to four classrooms. Other early childhood programs have also told the district they'd be interested in using the space.

The early childhood education theme was something trustees said they liked.

“I think an early childhood center would resonate really well in the community,” said B. Joseph Lillis, school board president.

The school district has also considered using the building to expand its pre-kindergarten program, but Smith said there wasn't enough funding to do so in the near future.

The school building is 60 years old and Smith said there were maintenance things that needed to be done at some point, such as roof repairs and bathroom upgrades. If the district were to lease out the entire building, a minimum of work would be needed to bring the building back to full operation, Smith said.

Smith also said the money the district would get wasn't going to be “a cash cow,” but it could provide enough money to cover the maintenance costs so that taxpayer dollars would not have to be used.

“It seems to us that it's worth exploring,” he said.

School board members gave Smith the go-ahead to put together a request for proposals for potential leases. Smith said the district would see what the interest was and what terms programs would be putting forth.

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