HOLLIDAYSBURG - Pending court approval, the former Allegheny No. 1 Elementary School has a new owner.
The Hollidaysburg Area school board on Wednesday unanimously approved the building sale to Allegheny No. 1 LLC for $610,000 - which matches the appraisal the district received.
The vote came as former Allegheny No. 1 students, parents, custodians and bus drivers celebrated during a reception for the now-closed school receiving a Blue Ribbon school honor from the U.S. Department of Education.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Former Allegheny No. 1 students (from left)?Mark McCoy, 9, brother Adam McCoy, 11, and Nathan Ferris, 10, look through school yearbooks during a Blue Ribbon Award reception Wednesday night.
Allegheny No. 1 LLC is a partnership between Drew Swope and two brothers of the DeGol Organization, including Bruno DeGol. Swope plans to begin building in the spring.
"Our intent is strictly residential," Swope told the board. "We will use the existing structure. It is perfect for assisted living and private apartments."
Swope said the group's main plans are for assisted-living apartments.
"We will partner up with someone to take care of the assisted living or do it ourselves as a 50 and up apartment complex. We could build an additional facility which could draw a medical facility near the property also," he said. "No low-income housing, no tax-credit approach."
Board members expressed gratitude to Swope for his plans to take over the building.
"We will be happy to have it on the tax rolls again and the full-time jobs with the assisted living," Aaron Ritchey said.
Swope said he has no plans yet for the school's fields.
District solicitor Dave Andrews said the sale is a month-long process beginning with a petition for court approval of the sale because a public entity cannot privately sell property and a newspaper advertisement for a public meeting on the sale.
Allegheny No. 1 was recognized as one of 314 Blue Ribbon schools for 2012.
Former Principal Francine Endler, now principal at Foot of Ten Elementary, received the plaque during a Blue Ribbon schools event last week in Washington, D.C.
The board closed Allegheny No. 1 at the end of the 2011-12 school year because of renovation costs and declined enrollment.
"Walking through the building now empty, it really is true that a school is not bricks and mortar. Wherever we are now, we are still Allegheny No. 1," Endler said at the reception.
The Blue Ribbon plaque will be shared between Charles W. Longer and Foot of Ten schools where the Allegheny No. 1 students and teachers who currently attend or work.
"The last time we were together, people were upset their school was going to be closed," Superintendent Paul Gallagher said. "At that time, we were expecting to win an award. We didn't know but we won, and that celebration is tonight," he said during the reception.
Mirror Staff Writer Russ O'Reilly is at 946-7535.