Schools administration plans move

Published 10:57 pm Thursday, December 8, 2011

After almost a decade at its current location on North Main Street, the School Administrative Office is planning to move to the city’s old Human Resources building on Market Street, above.

After a decade at its current location, the administration of Suffolk Public Schools is planning its move to another building.

The school division originally wanted to build its own building but abandoned the idea and will move into the city’s old Human Resources building on Market Street as a compromise with the city.

The city recently proposed in its capital improvements plan to give the school division $1 million to make the transition to the new building when its lease runs out in December 2013.

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“We feel that the facility is very adequate with minimal modifications necessary,” Superintendent Deran Whitney said.

Suffolk Public Schools’ main office has been based at 100 N. Main St. for almost 10 years, but with the end of the 10-year lease approaching, the group needed to find a new home.

“We began investigating alternative options in 2009,” Whitney said.

The School Board discussed the plan at its September meeting, and some members expressed concerns about moving into an older building.

“We would have to do some minor changes to move into it, but I feel very confident with the amount offered,” Whitney told the members.

Board chairman Michael Debranski said he was worried the building contained hazardous asbestos.

“It’s not a danger to anybody, but when we start moving tile and carpet, we’ll have to abate it,” Whitney said. “We haven’t needed to abate asbestos, because it hasn’t been a problem.”

The school division has been in its current office since 2004, and prior to that, it was located at the old courthouse, which is now the Visitor Center.

Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said the school moved to its current building because the city wanted to develop the old courthouse property and provide a long-term tenant for the developer who renovated the North Main Street building.

She said the schools have been located in a building provided by the city for more than 25 years.