A community learning center, an addiction treatment facility and a home for veterans were just three futures that potential buyers have imagined for elementary school buildings left vacant in Mill City and Evans Falls.
Tunkhannock Area School District underwent a consolidation last year, closing down its elementary schools in these areas, as well as Mehoopany, to relocate students to Roslund Elementary School in Tunkhannock.
The district decided in the spring to sell the Mill City and Evans Falls buildings through a sealed bid process, but hold on to the Mehoopany school, as it houses programs for area children.
Last week, TASD Chief Operating Officer Shane Powers and Director of Facilities John Shepulski hosted public walkthroughs of the buildings up for sale.
Some in attendance wanted to see if the buildings could fit ideas such as a senior assisted living facility or a medical center, while others were just concerned district residents curious about what might become of the schools in their neighborhoods.
The school district has been handling the sale process for both buildings internally.
“We’re optimistic that we would be able to sell the locations without a realtor,” Powers said.
The bidding process began on Aug. 19. The district plans to accept sealed bids until Oct. 4 at noon, then select a bid at the Oct. 10 school board meeting.
Once a bid gets accepted, Powers said the district hopes to close within 60 days, but if none of the bids are reasonable, then hiring a realtor may be the next option.
The Evans Falls Elementary School lies in a residential zone, while the Mill City Elementary School lies in a rural/agricultural zone.
Powers told potential buyers that depending on their plans, they may have to seek a zoning exemption with either Monroe Township or Falls Township, respectively.
The Tunkhannock Area School Board also required a deed restriction that prohibits a charter school from operating in either building.
The “real property” sale, which refers to the building and the land, lists the schools in an “as is” condition.
Following the bidding period, the district plans to hold an online auction for leftover contents of the schools, such as office furniture and industrial kitchen equipment.
At this time, Powers said there are no plans to move outdoor playground equipment from either school since it’s too costly and selling it could carry liabilities as well.
During the Evans Falls walkthrough, Powers and TASD Superintendent Heather McPherson confirmed that the building had at least two mold incidents, most recently within the last year that the school has been empty.
Before this, McPherson said it had been years since the building experienced an issue with mold.
A fan and dehumidifier have been running to prevent future mold.
The one-floor school was built in 1978 and includes oil heating, central air conditioning, public electricity, on-site sewer and water, as well as 55 parking spaces.
Powers noted the building’s circular hallway and showed off the school’s classrooms, each of which has its own bathroom and some outdoor access, as well as offices and spacious art and music rooms that could be repurposed.
She also highlighted the combined gym/auditorium/cafeteria with tables that fold down from the walls and a loading dock for deliveries.
Mill City Elementary School was built in 1976 and includes the same utilities as Evans Falls, but with 47 parking spaces.
Having two floors, the building also features a handicapped accessible lift.
Similar to Evans Falls, Powers showed potential buyers the typical school rooms such as the library and computer lab, but also highlighted Mill City’s open floor plan.
Outside of those who showed up Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 10 amd 11), a few others who couldn’t make it and scheduled appointments.
For more information about the building sale,