SALAMANCA – The Salamanca School Board has determined that the Seneca Elementary School building no longer is needed in the city system, and the Seneca Nation of Indians has expressed interest in it.
The process of determining feasibility and prudence of selling the Seneca Elementary School has moved to the next stage, and negotiations that could lead to the sale of the building may now begin.
The plan, according to Superintendent, Robert Breidenstein, would be to have the final sale price and shifting of all students and district interests from the Center Street building into the Prospect Elementary and Junior/Senior High School buildings. Before that step, however, reconfiguration would take place to shuffle and reconfigure students within the district.
School Board members authorized the reconfiguration of the Seneca School, effective in September. Prospect Elementary school will be home to students up to third grade, with grades four through six finding a home at a Seneca Elementary School that will not be at the same address as it is now.
“The school will keep its own identity,” Breidenstein said. “It will have its own administration.”
Maintaining individual identity, the school would need to be moved to the high school building, the offices and classes would be moved to two of the three wings of the junior high. Students in those wings would be relocated closer to the senior high wings, according to drawings of the relocation plans.
The current Seneca Elementary building will be retired at the end of this school year as negotiations with the Seneca Nation of Indians progress, Breidenstein said.
“We will have more than ample space to accommodate the students in the other buildings,” he continued.
It is estimated that the sale of the building would save the district more than $1 million over 10 years. Conservatively, the building generates an annual cost of $100,000 to $125,000 just to keep it open.
“This is going to put us in a position to choose our own destiny, in a way,” Breidenstein said. “If we have to choose between programs and personnel, and brick and mortar, this is going to help us make the best possible choice, in programs and personnel.”
A current timeline would have the price negotiations approved and setting a referendum vote at the Board of Education’s July 2 reorganization meeting, Breidenstein said.
“We are expecting that the price that comes out is a fair price,” he continued. “Ultimately, the community will have the final say in the referendum vote.”
If the timeline stands, the referendum is expected to take place in August.
There has been no comment from the Seneca Nation of Indians.