Renting out more classrooms at a former elementary school could yield as much as $175,000 in additional revenue for the Lindenhurst school district, officials estimated.
Superintendent Dan Giordano detailed the options for the Edward W. Bower Elementary School on Montauk Highway during a community forum last week. He said he was asked by the board of education to provide information on renting, repurposing and selling of the property.
Bower was closed in 2011 because of the building’s age and declining enrollment. Currently, three groups rent five classrooms in the building, schools spokeswoman Deirdre Gilligan said, but the district continues to spend nearly $200,000 a year on maintenance and debt service for the school.
Giordano said 15 additional empty classrooms could rent for between $11 and $15 per square foot of space. The average classroom size is 782 square feet, Gilligan said.
Currently the district offers space for tent by the room, but Giordano said fees could instead be based on square footage. Additionally, the gym could be rented out at a rate of $175 for three hours with charges of $75 for every additional hour.
Giordano said the board of education also will be interviewing two new commercial real estate agents, one from Daniel Gale Sotheby’s and the other from Schacker Realty Corp., to possibly assist with marketing the building. The agreement with the district’s current agent, Plainview’s Greiner Maltz, expired last week, officials said.
In his presentation, Giordano also explained costs associated with repurposing the building for the district’s use. To create a kindergarten center in Bower would run between $780,000 and $950,000, excluding transportation costs. To move the high school academy — a program for students who need more social and emotional support — from the administration building to Bower would cost $144,000, with the potential to attract out-of-district students, bringing in $32,000 annually. To move the high school academy and create a middle school academy would cost $660,000.
Potential sale of the property was also discussed. Giordano said SentosaCare LLC of Woodmere is interested in replacing its Massapequa nursing home with a state-of-the-art facility on the Bower site. The new facility would be about 110,000 square feet and house about 169 beds. Company officials would prefer to purchase the property, but would also consider a long term land lease, Giordano said. Real estate developer Basser Kaufman of Woodmere also is interested in the property for a mixed rental and retail development.
The costs for keeping Bower open are expected to come down over the next few years, Giordano said. Revenue from the three groups currently renting is expected to increase slightly to a total of nearly $229,000 for the 2018 to 2019 school year. While custodial and utility costs will rise, the district’s debt service payment will drop, resulting in nearly $343,000 in expenses, a net loss the district of nearly $114,000, down from the net loss of $182,000 expected for this year, he said.