District may auction off former schools

After the Williamsport Area School District permanently closed the doors two elementary schools last month, the district began exploring the possibility of auctioning off the buildings along with another former school that the district closed in 2001.

The district actively is accepting proposals from auctioneer companies to help orchestrate the auction and sale of the three buildings – Round Hills Elementary School, 136 Grimesville Road; Philip Sheridan Elementary School, 915 Sheridan St.; and Woodward Township School, 5933 Route 220 Highway, Linden.

Round Hills and Sheridan had their doors closed at the conclusion of the 2012-13 school year as part of a district-wide grade reconfiguration. Woodward hasn’t been used as an elementary school since 2001.

According to a previous Sun-Gazette report, Woodward was closed due to declining enrollment. The report also stated that Woodward Township and the district agreed to a tentative agreement to sell the building in 2011 to a third party for $193,000, but Jeffrey Richards, district business manager, said the deal fell through.

Woodward was used as an alternative education school until 2007. The building has been used mostly for storage since that point.

The decision to auction off the buildings instead of selling them through a realtor was made after discussions with both the school board and other school districts, Richards said.

“Pretty much with the discussions, (an auction) seems to be the best option moving forward,” he said.

Richards said this is the first time he has been a part of the auctioning off of school buildings, which is why the district is seeking an experienced auctioneer. Details about the auction will not be finalized until discussing it with the approved auctioneer, Richards said.

The buildings will be sold separately, but Richards could not say whether they will be auctioned off at the same time or on separate dates and times.

“That’s the type of thing we want to ask (the approved auction company),” Richards explained.

The Round Hills building is the newest at 53 years old. The building sits on 8 acres and is 39,721 square feet. The building of the former Woodward Township School is 59 years old and is 20,900 square feet. The building is located on 13.5 acres. The 100-year old Sheridan building sits on a 6.13 acre lot and is 30,662 square feet.

Once an auctioneer is selected, it would require school board approval. Richards said the board and district would discuss where to go at that point.

He explained that since the Woodward building is being used as a warehouse-type area, the district may choose to keep it until after the high school renovation project is completed so it could store items in it during construction.

The hope is that an auctioneer is selected and brought to the board by its Aug. 6 meeting so the properties the district wishes to sell can be done before winter.

when heating and other maintenance will be needed.

When asked for the values of the three buildings, the district requested more time to supply the answer.