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Saving the Pleasant Street School

Ron These articles were first printed in Reflections
by Ron Wischhusen '72'

Pleasant Street School


Pleasant Street School... An Update

A lot has happened in the continuing saga of the Pleasant Street School since my article in this past spring's issue of "Reflections"! In late May, we were all taken quite by surprise when the school building suddenly appeared for auction on eBay. Facing a county take over of the property for back taxes, the previous owner had second thoughts about donating the building to the Alumni Association; mainly due to timing. He feared that such a deal could not be completed before the mid July tax deadline. That's when an acquaintance of his convinced him to let her place an ad for the building on eBay.

Some of you may have heard that the winning bid was $42,100. However, not unpredictably, that transaction was never completed, most likely causing the author of the ad to go back down through the list of bidders in descending order until she found a buyer. Based on our best estimate, the new owner, a retired police detective from NYC, paid approximately 60 0/0 of the winning bid plus (possibly) some or all of the back taxes. In order to stay involved with the building at some level, the Alumni Association Board of Directors took a proactive approach and contacted the new owner.

At the September 13th board of directors meeting, we officially formed the Pleasant Street School Advisory Committee, which will eventually include alumni, as well as local school, business and community members. Subsequently, a meeting was held in Sidney between the new owner, the program construction manager that we're working with and a core group of alumni on October 4th. The new owner appears to be a genuine person who wanted a project to work on during his retirement and to eventually make a little money on. At the same time, he's actually looking to do something for the people of Sidney.

Unfortunately, the new owner was not a good judge of what is going to be required to analyze the hazard and structural aspects of the building, to properly stabilize it and eventually restore it. As a matter of fact, after we explained the process we've been going through and our plan to accomplish these steps; he has informed us that he is likely to sell the building once again. He has considered donating the school to the board but doesn't feel that he can regain enough of his investment to make it feasible. We are currently evaluating how we might be able to work something out... stay tuned.