District Has Offer for Sacred Heart
Former Elementary School Would Be Made Into Offices
Lebanon — The school district could be close to selling the sole building remaining of four properties that were made obsolete by consolidation and new construction.
The School Board will consider an offer this week for the former Sacred Heart Elementary School on Eldridge Street, according to the listing agent.
Realtor Star Johnson said the board will discuss the offer for the .78-acre property, which the district purchased in the 1970s, in a closed session at its meeting Wednesday.
Johnson said the prospective buyer, whom he declined to name, intends to convert the 13,000-square-foot former school building to offices.
Superintendent Gail Paludi, Business Administrator Jim Fenn and members of the School Board’s Finance and Facilities Committee — School Board Chairman Jeff Peavey, Vice Chairman Bob McCarthy and board member Doug Preston — did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
The city closed four schools in the past several years. School Street School and Sacred Heart closed at the end of the 2009 school year and the students were moved to Hanover Street School.
The former junior high on Bank Street and Seminary Hill School closed when Lebanon Middle School opened in 2012.
Seminary Hill is now home to the school district offices.
Lebanon attorney Peter Decato purchased the former school district office building on Hanover Street, and developer Mike Davidson of Execusuite LLC, a White River Junction-based firm that specializes in redeveloping old buildings, purchased the former junior high school and the School Street School.
Since the beginning of 2013, the district has reduced the asking price for the former Sacred Heart School, which was built by the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Parish in 1909, from $499,000 to $450,000.
The two-story building, plus basement, contains eight classrooms, a cafeteria, offices and storage space. Outside, the parcel includes a playground and 13 parking spaces, with potential for more, according to the real estate listing.
News of the pending sale was greeted by dismay by Babben Kulbacki, acting head of Stonemount Academy, a proposed charter school with plans to locate in the former Sacred Heart Elementary School.
Kulbacki said the proposed charter school’s budget and plans are based on using the former Sacred Heart school.
“Without that building, I have no idea where else we’re going to be able to go,” said Kulbacki, who said she previously toured the former school with Johnson.
The state recently lifted a moratorium on new charter schools, and Stonemount organizers had planned to move forward with state authorization by August, with an opening scheduled for September 2015.
Since hearing of Sacred Heart’s pending sale, Kulbacki has sought an investor to purchase the building on Stonemount’s behalf. She also created a gofundme.com page, which Monday night had not yet raised any money toward a $600,000 goal.
Stonemount’s supporters have until only noon on Wednesday to place a competing offer, which limits realistic options, said Kulbacki.
“We can’t in good conscience put in an offer if we don’t have the dollars to back it up,” she said.
Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3213.