" />
shs header picture
Saving the Pleasant Street School

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

Pleasant Street School


Pleasant Street -School... Update #7

There has been activity at the school... in late September, the windows were boarder, a crew appeared on the roof and for an instant everyone fell right back into the same old trap. The trap being the unfounded belief that there is an absentee miracle-owner out there that is going to properly renovate the building alone. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I'm here to remind you.... it isn't going to happen! If you didn't see the crew the day they were there, you missed them. They likely realized they hadn't quoted a high enough price to cover the work once they discovered what was actually required or they simply didn't have the expertise necessary to complete it. The sum total of their involvement was to tear off the roof around the holes and leave those areas of the building with no roof whatsoever... and here comes winter! Another crew started to collect the junk in the building and jettison it from a rear window into an open-top container below. The danger here is the possibility of stirring up any asbestos from plaster or ceiling materials or disease associated with pigeon droppings... but this work appears to have ceased also.

The same owner is still involved and his desire to sell was likely hampered by the devastating flood in Sidney this past summer and his attempt to initiate some preservation work was likely spurred by the fact that an old school in Norwich is on the market for somewhere over a quarter of a million dollars... big difference being that that building has been occupied and maintained.

The Village was also hot on his heels for various code violations but the fact that the building was totally

surrounded by water and never sustained any flood damage to its foundation speaks reams for the worthiness of the building's construction.

The only way the Pleasant Street School is going to be saved is by following an overall comprehensive plan backed by alumni, the community and a willing owner... or form of ownership. This is where attempts to date have failed. Such a plan must include fixing the roof:, covering the windows and adding a fire alarm system before the structure can be considered an insurable asset but that must be preceded by an analysis of the building to determine everything that has to be done to it and followed-up in a direction that produces a financially feasible product that there's a need for in the community.

We have maintained our relationship with a professional construction manager, specializing in this type of project. We hold quotations from a restoration architect, an asbestos abatement firm and an environmental company to determine exactly what we're up against. We've made inroads at the Preservation League of NYS and with the NYS Historical Preservation Organization (SHIPO). We have a model based on energy assistance through the NYS Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the US Green Building Council (USGBC) to access money available for energy saving installations, as well as qualify for large interest write-downs. We have a situation where the building sits in the middle of a three County area ravaged by flooding that is now screaming for usable living, as well as business space. All we need is the willing form of ownership! We continue to do everything we can to get something to work.