October 15, 2008

Matthews Street school site could cost $1.1 million

The city expects to buy about $1.1 million for the 17.6-acre lot on Matthews Street that officials are eyeing for a new school, records show.

Though school Superintendent Philip Streifer said that officials aren’t sure of the cost for the 851 Matthews Street site, paperwork submitted to the City Council shows an expected cost of $1.06 million for the property.

There is also a chance the city will choose a more expansive school site by purchasing a neighboring 12-acre parcel for about the same price per acre.

It would likely cost about $750,000 – of which only about half would be eligible for the 74 percent reimbursement promised by the state for the entire project.

Purchasing both parcels would likely hit city taxpayers for about $600,000, with the state picking up the other $1.2 million for the land buys, assuming the school is built.

Streifer said the owners of both parcels are willing to sell.

City land records show that Sahlin Diann is the owner of the 851 Matthews Street lot, which is appraised by the city for $738,700.

Streifer said he would like to see the city buy the land before Jan. 1 to make sure that Bristol’s school project remains in the pipeline if the General Assembly should try to save money by delaying new projects that haven’t gotten at least that far by the end of 2008.

A public hearing on the proposed school site is likely to take place within a few weeks, probably just before a joint session of the City Council and the West Bristol School Building Committee that recommended the parcel after a previous site, off Barlow Street, was shot down.

City Councilor Frank Nicastro said the Matthews Street site is “a hundred times better” than the sand pit proposed earlier. But he stopped short of saying he would support its purchase.

The Board of Education hopes to build the two schools for students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. Each would house 900 students.

The new buildings would replace Memorial Boulevard Middle School and three aging primary schools O’Connell, Greene-Hills and Bingham.

The project has to be underway by June 13, 2010 or it won’t be eligible for state aid. But the current plan calls for only minimal work on the project until 2013, with a projected opening of the new buildings in the fall of 2015.


Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

I smell another greedy land owner holding out for more $$$ from the city!

Anonymous said...

The open ended question...

What will become of the old schools, and seriously... what the heck is so bad about an old school building? It's the stuff INSIDE the old brick facade that matters. Shiny and new won't mean any better education.

Update them, like they did to Central high whilst I was there.

Steve Collins said...

If the city moves ahead with the purchase, it will hire two independent assessors to assign a value to the land. It can pay no more than the highest of the two figures.
If the owner says no, the city can take the property by eminent domain and a judge will figure out the value later.
There's no reason to speculate that the owner is going to be greedy.

Anonymous said...

All that money would be a great start in renovating what we have.

Anonymous said...

i say renovate also but as we know the city does not listen at all to public in put. i keep hearing k thru 8 but what about the pre k kids i guess they will be left out. down with the whole city council and the boe panel.

just say NO said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I am thinking of getting a bumper sticker counting down to the date next year when Frank Nicastro will leave the Council. Anyone want to order one?

Anonymous said...

Please Board of Education get this spend thrift Superintendent out of Bristol quick.

We cannot afford him.

Anonymous said...


I would pay for a dozen, and even more if he would leave the legislature too.

Anonymous said...

So we should bankrupt the taxpayers to purchase land, take them off the tax rolls and HOPE that the schools will go there in say 5 to 7 years?

Why the rush to buy the property?

Anonymous said...

But is OK for Nicastro and the city to buy land on Park Street for Muzzy Field, just to pretty it up?

Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Park Street could use prettying up, and Muzzy is a jewel. That was a good use of funds. Not all the money should be going to schools.

Anonymous said...

That was one of the nicest houses on Park street.

Sports and the Boulevard have no problem getting money in Bristol.

Anonymous said...

You guys got any ideas. I don't think so !!!!!!We already proved we can play the blame game and also call people names . But you are the experts on making up stories.