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Talks center on what to do with Glebe

JOHNSTOWN — The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education on Thursday night discussed the June 30 closing of Glebe Street Elementary School, hearing a suggestion its elements be sold and the property turned into a parking lot for the junior high school.

District officials made it clear at the board’s business meeting at Johnstown High School that no decision has been made yet on what to do with the Glebe building.

The school is located across from Knox Field, directly behind South Perry Street’s Knox Junior High School.

Public speaker Tracy Ringer of Pleasant Avenue, a teacher and sports coach in the district, said she wanted to “offer a suggestion” on what to do with the school.

She suggested taking the school building apart and selling parts of it as scrap to buyers. She said the property could be retained by the district and eventually could be turned into a parking lot to benefit the junior high school and Knox Field athletic events.

“There is zero parking at Knox,” Ringer said.

She said in reality there probably should be no parking in front of Knox anyway, and said “a lot of” Knox teachers usually have to park a couple blocks away. She said there is virtually no parking currently for athletic events at Knox Field. She suggested the Glebe playground be saved and relocated to Warren Street Elementary School.

The board voted 7-0 Dec. 5 to shut down Glebe Street Elementary School, effective June 30. The Glebe building — built in 1966 — currently educates second and third grades within the district. District enrollment has declined greatly over the years in the district, which also underwent a tumultuous budget process in 2019.

With Glebe closing, sixth grade will be moved from Warren Street Elementary School to Knox Junior High School, which would house grades six through eight. Pleasant Avenue Elementary School will house grades kindergarten through second while Warren will educate third through fifth. Pre-K is expected to be at Warren. The board voted 7-0 to shut down Glebe Street Elementary School, effective June 30.

Ringer said that if the Glebe building was taken apart, various components such as doors, floors and equipment could be sold.

“You could get a very good price,” she told the board. “I’d like the board to consider turning it into a parking facility.”

Interim District Superintendent Karen Geelan said the district is hiring a real estate broker to deal with the Glebe property. She said a request for proposal went out two weeks ago and the RFPs are due back today. She said the broker will “assist us with Glebe,” whatever the board decides to do.

Board member Ronald Beck asked if anyone had any ideas about whether the district should sell the building or retain the land.

“We’re looking at all kinds of options,” Geelan said.

She said the district could retain sections of the property, but the broker will assist the school system moving ahead.

“You need a professional,” Geelan said.

Board President Christopher Tallon said the board’s Facilities Committee will be spearheading recommendations in the future on what do with Glebe. He said he will be contacting board member and committee Chairwoman Evamarie Mraz — not in attendance Thursday night — to set up a Facilities Committee meeting for next week.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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