HASD to sell pair of buildings

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A Hollidaysburg Area School District building is slated to close.

The Hollidaysburg Area school board plans to approve an agreement Wednesday to sell its administrative and tax office building on Jackson Street to the next-door Presbyterian Village retirement community for $2 million.

“This will be a taxable property and increase employment. It’s a win-win for the tax base,” school board member Aaron Ritchey said when the agreement was discussed at a non-voting meeting last week.

It will be the second district building sold since the board’s decision in November to sell Allegheny No. 1 Elementary school to Allegheny No. 1 LLC for $610,000. A hearing on the Allegheny No. 1 sale is scheduled for Feb. 6 in Blair County Court.

The school’s availability was advertised after it closed at the end of 2011-12. But the Presbyterian Village administration approached Superintendent Paul Gallagher months ago for the district administrative building while it was in use by the district.

How the board plans to spend money it will receive for the buildings has not been decided.

“We will be talking about that,” Gallagher said. “The board will decide how and where to use funds to help with district expenses. With work for next year’s budget coming up, there are a few areas where that could be put to use.”

The administrative building becomes property of the Presbyterian Village on July 1, but the agreement stipulates the district’s right to be lease the building until August 2014.

“We would expect to be out and in a new building by that time,” Gallagher said.

The board plans to build a new administration building, of minimum cost, perhaps on the auditorium side of the high school parking lot. Gallagher said the district is determining the potential building’s size.

Relocating administrative staff and the tax office’s two employees to one of the district’s three elementary schools or two secondary schools is not possible, Gallagher said.

With the closing of Allegheny No. 1 last year, available capacity at the district’s remaining buildings has diminished, he said.

The board plans to go to bid with a floor plan designed by the district’s physical plant staff to expedite the building process.

“It’s a year-long process for complete relocation, from engineering to bidding to construction,” Physical Plant Director Phil Smith estimated.

The board plans to have a floor plan completed and accept construction bids by Feb. 1.

Board President Ron Yoder said he hopes to build a new building for about $500,000 to $600,000.

“It would be silly to spend millions on a new administrative building,” he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.