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Glen Cove City Council to vote on sale of Coles School for $2.1M

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello on Tuesday, Dec.

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, at the old Coles School, which he attended as a boy. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Glen Cove officials have reached an agreement to sell the shuttered Coles School to a nonprofit that serves children with language and autistic-related disorders.

The City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal to sell Coles to Tiegerman schools — which until last month was known as the School for Language and Communication Development — for $2.1 million.

“It’s a perfect use for a school that holds a lot of memories and a landmark that people don’t want to see disappear,” said Mayor Reginald Spinello, who attended Coles as a child.

Tiegerman’s Garden City attorney, Brad Gerstman, declined to comment on the agreement, referring all questions to the city.

This would be Glen Cove-based Tiegerman’s second takeover of a closed Glen Cove school building. In 1999, the nonprofit began elementary school classes at the former South School, which now has 240 students in preschool through fifth grade, Gerstman said.

Tiegerman also has middle and high schools in Queens. Gerstman declined to say which, if any, age groups from those schools could be transferred to Coles.

If the council and Tiegerman approve the agreement, Tiegerman would have a year to back out of the sale. At a recent City Council work session, Councilman Joseph Capobianco questioned the length of the escape clause, saying that the standard for such a provision is 60 to 90 days.

But City Attorney Charles McQuair said Tiegerman must conduct extensive research into renovating the school and receive planning board and other city approvals.

The city has been trying for years to sell the 1.86-acre school site, and Spinello said the school is a better fit for the site than previous proposals, which included apartments and a sports academy. Some potential buyers had proposed demolishing Coles.

The neoclassical-style building on Cedar Swamp Road housed a public elementary school from 1931 until 1992. The city purchased it from the Glen Cove City School District in 2002 and leased it to a Jewish school until 2011.

A 2015 study estimated renovating the school would cost $9.4 million. But Spinello said that would be for a complete renovation. Tiegerman’s preliminary estimate is roughly $3 million, the mayor said.

There are more than 2 acres behind the 21,550-square-foot school that would remain under city ownership, including a cavernous building that now houses a sports-training center and would become the new home of the Glen Cove Youth Bureau, Spinello said.

There’s also a field that Tiegerman students would be able to use. Tiegerman, in turn, would allow the school building to be used for community events after hours, said Glen Cove Community Development executive director Ann Fangmann.

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