YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The previously unused French Hill Elementary School building on Baldwin Road is entirely self-sustaining and could even generate revenue for Yorktown Central schools after being rented out to nearly a dozen tenants, the district announced at a Monday news conference.
“Three years ago the community stood behind us as we made a decision to consolidate four buildings into three,” said Jackie Carbone, the Board of Education president. “And it was a tough decision, but with our declining enrollment it gave us an opportunity to save significant money. It was always our intention from the outset to make this building self-sustaining.”
French Hill was one of four elementary schools in the school district, but closed before the 2010-11 school year due to declining enrollment. Only 909 of the 3,619 students in the district this year are elementary school students, and Assistant Superintendent Tom Cole expects those numbers to remain static for the next three to five years.
Occupying the former school will be Energize New York, Soaring Eagle Physical Therapy, Laurie Kelleher Chiropractic, Northern Westchester Music School, Eclipse Theatre Company, Yorktown Athletic Club, Oxygen Volleyball Club, Yorktown Youth Soccer Club, and its largest and newest tenant, Children’s Corner. The nursery school will occupy 12,500 square feet.
“All different organizations will be using this facility now, and it benefits the entire community, so we’re very grateful that it’s a self-sustaining opportunity,” Carbone said.
Even if there were significant growth at the elementary school level, Cole said the district would still be a long way from needing to re-open French Hill. He said about 450 students would have to enroll in the district before that is considered. If the school ever does need to re-open, though, Cole said the district will be prepared.
The leases are from anywhere from one to 10 years, depending on the tenant, Cole said. Each lease has a clause in it that allows the district to take the school back in the case of increased enrollment.
Cole has set an annual rent revenue goal of $320,000 to properly maintain the building, and any excess revenue will be put toward the school budget.
“We’re very happy to be here," Cole said Monday. "And we’re really pleased that the superintendent and the Board of Education asked us to do this, because it was quite an interesting endeavor, and we hope everybody’s as pleased as we are with the outcome."