With implementation of the Warren County School District's master facilities plan in motion, the end result will be vacant elementary schools in Sugar Grove, Russell, Clarendon, Sheffield and Warren.
While the elementary school in Sugar Grove is not expected to be closed until the 2015-2016 academic year, borough council is already exploring possibilities for the future of the property.
The first issue to be resolved? Who will own the building once the school closes.
There was speculation at the council meeting that a deed restriction could grant the property to the borough.
Unsure of the validity of that point, Council President Kevin McIntyre asked whether council had an appetite to hire an abstract company to review the situation. If someone was hired, "we would know," he said. "I don't know who donated it or who owned it."
Councilman Gregory Wilson said that the property was owned by the community after the United Bretheren (Seminary) disbanded. "(It) would take someone to look at the deed, at the minutes of the borough, newspapers. (We) would want every avenue pursued."
McIntyre then suggested an individual who could be hired to do the work.
"We definitely want to know, though," Wilson added.
The property is currently zoned Residential-1.
Conversation then shifted to what the property could be used for if it does indeed fall into possession of the borough.
"I do think, personally, the homes we have down there are utilized in a business use," Wilson said in reference to the properties around the school. He proposed moving the Sugar Grove Volunteer Fire Department and borough offices into the school.
He explained that such a move would free up the block the fire department and borough offices currently occupy for business expansion. "I think that could be beneficial," he said. "Looking that we could grow, and that we want to keep things down here, the more we can keep people downtown the better we are. It's able to say 'this is a good spot.'"
Councilman Bob Snyder made a motion that Atty. Kenneth Crosby be hired to conduct the search. The measure was approved unanimously.