Dickinson Avenue Elementary school in the Northport-East Northport school district is...

Dickinson Avenue Elementary school in the Northport-East Northport school district is one of the schools being considered for sale or lease, school district officials said. Credit: Rick Kopstein

The Northport-East Northport school district is considering several proposals to sell or lease three of its school buildings for housing or other uses, citing declining enrollment and an expected loss of tax revenue.

The buildings considered for sale or lease include Bellerose Avenue Elementary and Dickinson Avenue Elementary schools and the William J. Brosnan administrative building.

The board has received proposals from several developers to build housing at the properties, and a proposal from the village to build a new village hall at the Brosnan building, Northport Village Mayor Donna Koch said.

The proposals would first need to be approved by residents by a public referendum, district Superintendent Robert Banzer said in an email. After that, the Town of Huntington and the village will also need to approve the plans.

The school district is not naming the developers.

Banzer said there are no covenants and restrictions on any of the buildings that would preclude them from being used for housing. 

A committee of residents recommended the proposals last year after the district began a planning process in 2019 that included hiring educational consultants to set a course for the district's future, Banzer said.

Banzer said district enrollment has declined by about 1,600 students, or 25%, during the past 10 years.

A 2020 agreement between the district and the town lowered the annual taxes LIPA paid for the plant from $86 million to $46 million in gradual steps by 2027, a substantial reduction to the Northport districts tax base. 

The Bellerose and Dickinson schools both closed at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

A portion of the administrative building is leased to a pre-K provider. The gymnasium and auditorium are also used by community groups.

Koch said the village submitted a proposal for $2.5 million to buy the Brosnan building for a proposed village hall.

"We would love to get that building," she said.

There are 12 proposals so far, school district officials said.

The Bellerose and Brosnan buildings each have four proposals for purchase. Dickinson has three offers for purchase and one for leasing. 

Offers on each of the buildings include a proposal for 14 to 20 units per acre for rental housing for either seniors or market rate.

Offers on the 15.8-acre Bellerose Avenue building range between $3.5 million and $16 million. Proposals include up to 200 owner-occupied condos, 12 single-family homes, and up to 231 rental apartments. 

Offers for the 14.8-acre Brosnan building range between $2.5 million and $8 million. Proposals include up to 100 rental town houses, 70 rental apartments or a minimum of 165 units for senior assisted or independent living.

Offers for the 55,080-square-feet Dickinson Avenue building range between $5.8 million and $9.3 million. The proposals range from 60 single family homes or 53 units of attached condominiums. The lease option is for approximately 20% of the building for a school that serves students from across Long Island and New York City, according to district officials. 

Karen Steinhaus of East Northport said she doesn’t like the housing proposals because of the impact on quality of life. She said it would be better to lease the buildings. 

“I’m afraid that down the road we’re going to need more schools and if they are gone we’re going to have to rebuild,” she said.

The district will present the proposals at a 7 p.m. meeting Oct. 5 at Northport High School.

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