Medina sells Towne School for $900K
MEDINA – Towne Primary School was sold today by the Medina Board of Education, about five years after the school closed.
The board accepted an offer for $900,000 from Rainbow CCX International, a company that provides educational services. The company’s name wasn’t disclosed during a public hearing. It wasn’t made public until the board voted to accept the offer after a public hearing and then executive session
Rainbow CCX currently has schools in Toronto and Niagara Falls, Canada.
The board also considered an offer from the Calvary Tabernacle church, which currently holds services in the old Medina High School. Calvary proposed buying the Towne School for an undisclosed amount. The church wanted to use Towne for the Orleans County Christian School and also the Medina Area Association of Churches’s clothing depot.
The board was unanimous in voting for the offer from Rainbow CCX, except for Board President David Sevenski, who abstained. He sells real estate for Zambito Realtors, which listed the property for $1,150,000. The building is 72,814 square feet and the property includes a 16.9-acre lot.
“There are vast and clear differences in the offers,” Sevenski said after the board came out of executive session.
The property will go on the tax rolls and would have stayed tax exempt if purchased by the church. Medina Village Trustee Owen Toale urged the board to accept the offer from the tax-paying entity so the village has more revenue to provide services, including streets in need of paving.
He said Rainbow CCX wouldn’t come to the community without the Towne school, whereas Calvary can continue to provide its services without the Towne site.
Calvary has sold its building to Roger Hungerford, who wants to develop high-scale apartments in the old school. He is working on designs for those apartments.
The sale of that building put Calvary in a position to pursue the Towne building.
The sale of the old high school should also will put that building on the tax rolls, and generate tax revenue for the local governments, said Bill Carpenter, who spoke in favor of Calvary Tabernacle acquiring Towne.
“We sold our property because it needed repairs we couldn’t afford,” he said.
Linda Strickland, administrator of the Christian School, urged the Board of Education to not just focus on the money in picking between the two offers. She said the Christian School and Calvary wanted to expand their ministries and their impact on the community.
Medina still owes about $1.2 million from Towne for a capital project at the building. The sale price will wipe out most of that debt. Medina also will be spared paying about $50,000 in annual maintenance and insurance at the site.
There was some concern whether a playground and softball field next door would be available for use for the community. The new owner will be asked about that, or whether the field and playground could become owned by the village or town.
Medina Michael Sidari urged the board to accept the offer from Rainbow, although Sidari didn’t mention the company’s name. He said he visited Rainbow’s school in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and was impressed by the site. He said the school’s owner has many business contacts that could lead to additional investment in Medina.
The school was listed for sale for about 3 ½ years. After drawing limited interest for more than three years, there were two “very credible offers” for the board to consider, Sevenski said.
When Medina wrestled with closing the school five years ago, Sevenski opposed it back then when he wasn’t on the Board of Education. The board closed the school after years of shrinking school enrollments.
Those elementary grades were moved to the Oak Orchard Elementary School.
Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said enrollment continues to trend downward. It’s unlikely there would be demand to reopen the school anytime soon.
Sevenski said he didn’t want to see the Towne School sit vacant for years, and deteriorate.
“I’ve watched the building go downhill for five years,” he said. “It’s hard to watch it.”
He walked around the school at 11 p.m. last night, when he couldn’t sleep.
“We held on hoping something would break and we could justify reopening the building,” he said at the board meeting. “But we’re at a dead end. We have to face reality.”