by David Flint
The market value of the Stephentown and Grafton Elementary Schools has been determined to be zero. At a sparsely attended public hearing Tuesday evening on the 2012-13 Berlin School District budget and the upcoming May 15 voting, Business Manager William Burke noted that the property appraisal reports had been received from the Bauer Appraisal Group of Albany and posted on the District’s website at Berlincentral.org.
[private]The reports indicate that assuming average condition the value of the Stephentown property would be estimated at $250,000 and the Grafton property at $325,000. However, in both cases the reports conclude that the cost of fixing up items in the buildings that have been deemed unsatisfactory exceeds those amounts and the cost of demolition would likely exceed the value of the vacant land.
The report did not address the existence of any potentially hazardous materials that might have been used in the construction or maintenance of the buildings, nor the possible existence of any toxic waste on the properties. The company said that the appraiser was not qualified to detect such substances.
The Stephentown school was constructed in 1948 and an addition built in 1960. The property includes the 12,800 square foot main building and about 6 ½ acres of land. The appraisal company relied heavily on a 5-year building condition report done by the State Education Department (SED) in 2010. That report indicated substantial unsatisfactory deficiencies in the water, electrical, heating and cooling distribution and HVAC control systems. The cost to fix everything to satisfactory standards, including a lot of less urgent needs such as replacement of interior and exterior door hardware, was estimated at $1,665,000.
The Grafton school was built in 1960 and a modular outbuilding was added sometime in the 1970’s. The 13,250 square foot school sits on 15.3 acres. The SED report noted substantial unsatisfactory deficiencies in water and ventilation systems as well as attention needed to replacing water pipes, recoating the roof and replacing vinyl asbestos tiles. SED estimated the cost to bring everything up to their standards at $1,265,000.
The report acknowledged that some of the unsatisfactory items in the two buildings may not need to be repaired or replaced immediately by a new owner but, “they do significantly impact the marketability and value of the property.”[/private]
by David Flint