Clearing the way for the purchase of the former Crowley dealership on Pine Street, the Board of Finance gave its unanimous backing Tuesday to shelling out $2.25 million for the proposed school site.
Mayor Art Ward said the price tag has been “agreed on by all” and includes a commitment from Crowley to take care of any environmental problems that may exist.
School Superintendent Philip Streifer said the city would be paying the fair market value of the property, determined by two appraisals. He said the former dealership will be demolished and carted away before the city takes possession of it.
“That’s his responsibility,” Streifer said.
The Pine Street parcel would be used for one of two planned 900-student schools the city aims to open by 2015. It would house students from kindergarten to eighth grade.
The other site eyed by the city is on Matthews Street, near the intersection of Clark Avenue on the west side of Bristol. Officials aim to complete its purchase within weeks.
The Crowley site was picked because it is next door to Greene-Hills School, one of three older elementary schools the city intends to close as part of the $132 million project.
City councilors backed the purchase recently without dissent. The approval of finance commissioners removes the last obvious potential stumbling block.
The city may also buy a small market at the corner of Pine and Daley streets as part of the Crowley site project.
In addition to Greene-Hills, the school board plans to close Memorial Boulevard Middle School and two more primary schools: Bingham and O’Connell.
Architects will have about a year to complete blueprints, which will be followed by a state review. The city must have a construction contract in hand by June 13, 2010 in order to preserve a 73.9 percent reimbursement rate for the project as a whole.
Construction has to start in 2010, but Streifer has said it can drag on until 2015 if that’s necessary to make the costs manageable.
When the new school is finished next door to Greene-Hills, the older school would be demolished, officials have said.
When the two new schools open, about half of the city’s students will attend K-8 schools and the rest will continue to follow the existing elementary to middle school track.
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