Citizens Invited to Weigh-In on Re-purposing Old Schools

Nov 27, 2012

A school district in Ulster County is reaching out to citizens online - asking for suggestions about what to do with school buildings that have outlived their original purposes - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The “Community Brain Trust” is an online tool - available on the Kingston City School District website -

that gives citizens a chance to weigh-in on the fate of closed and soon-to-close buildings. 

Superintendent Paul Padalino explains the idea originated from facilities committee discussions about

re-purposing the schools.

Vacant structures tend to deteriorate and become eyesores over time.  Padalino says its a big challenge

when a school goes dark.

The Frank L. Meagher Elementary School closed in June:   the district’s reconfiguration plan calls for

the closure of another three buildings, all elementary schools, at the end of the current school year.

Padalino notes the district is open to any possible scenarios when it comes to re-use.

If a building is sold, money goes back into the district's general fund. Padalino says SUNY Ulster has

expressed interest in one of the soon-to-close elementary schools for use as a satellite college campus.

Padalino expects vacant schools will become more numerous across the state. 

About 20 suggestions from contributors currently appear on the district's Community Brain Trust page.

They range from repurposing the Zena Elementary School as an Environmental Education/Conference Center to converting one old school building to Senior housing and another into a "Multi-generational craft exchange art center."