Salamanca Voters OK Building Sale, Land Purchase

SALAMANCA – The special district vote results from Tuesday are in and certified. Members of the Salamanca City Central School District have the approval of the voters to sell a former elementary school and buy a piece of land.

The first proposition on the ballot included selling the former Seneca Elementary School building, on Center Street, which plans to become an educational building for the Seneca Nation of Indians. The sale passed referendum by a 238-103 margin. Once the final purchase of $950,000 goes through, it will transition into the new home of the Seneca Nation Early Childhood Learning Center, as well as other cultural offices.

“The sale culminates over 15 months of productive conversation between the district and Seneca Nation to repurpose a school building no longer needed by the district and desired by the Nation to support its Early Childhood Learning Center,” said Robert J. Breidenstein, district superintendent.

Talks were brought closer to an end in January, when members of the Salamanca School Board unanimously passed approval to accept the sale price and terms for balloting by the voters of the district. The building was mothballed after the 2012-13 school year, with students reconfigured into a section of the middle/high school, at 50 Iroquois Drive. The move trimmed the district from three to two campuses. A plan is in the works to further pare that to a single, all-encompassing, campus at the Iroquois Drive facility, according to Breidenstein.

Conversations of closing and transfer of property, as well as payments, are ongoing, Breidenstein said. Once those pieces are in place, the property can be fully sold and transferred.

The second proposition on the ballot was a measure to purchase the property at 608 Broad St., a parcel that abuts the Iroquois Drive campus. The purchase price was set to not exceed $41,000. The measure passed by a 172-163 margin.

Breidenstein said in previous discussions that the land would be used for green space but could be part of a larger plan for development in the future. The purchase contract does carry a rider that allows for the sale to not happen if the environmental review does not come back favorably, he said. That review will take place once the weather breaks and the ground is able to have environmental testing completed.

The property at 6087 Broad St. is owned by Michael D. Zarzecki, of Olean.