BH-BL sells Hostetter Leadership Building to Mekeel Christian Academy
District offices relocate to renovated high school in summer 2017;
Mekeel Christian Academy slated to open school doors in fall 2017
BH-BL and Mekeel Christian Academy (MCA) leaders are currently in negotiations regarding the sale of the Hostetter Leadership Building. MCA is slated to purchase the building this winter and begin renovations to transform the building back into a school that will serve approximately 300-400 students in grades K-12. MCA leaders are anticipating opening their doors in time for the start of the 2017-18 school year.
For the time being, the Hostetter Leadership Building will remain the site for BH-BL district offices while the high school is being renovated and expanded as part of the district’s multi-year Building Our Second Century renovations project. The district offices will likely relocate to the high school in 2017.
“We’ve worked out an arrangement with Mekeel that keeps the district offices in the Hostetter Building in the short term, ” explains BH-BL Superintendent Patrick McGrath. “The district will maintain and occupy the building until MCA is ready to move in.”
History of Glenhaven/Hostetter
“This school building is steeped with tradition,” says Superintendent McGrath. “And our recent centennial celebration has reminded us of the great memories held by many former students, teachers and administrators who attended or taught at Glenhaven. When the building re-opens as a school, new traditions will begin and new memories will be made–and that pleases us.”
The Hostetter Building sits on a parcel of nearly 39 acres of land at the very end of Cypress Drive in Schenectady County. It was built as the district’s fourth elementary school in the 1957-58 school year, when the Capital Region was experiencing a dramatic enrollment growth due to the post World War II baby boom.
During the 1960s BH-BL built additions onto all four elementary schools and both of its secondary schools as it struggled to keep up with the local population growth and new housing developments in the area.
By 1980, however, enrollment had declined significantly, and a fourth elementary school was no longer needed. In the fall of 1981, the district closed Glenhaven Elementary School. It eventually became home to the district offices and was renamed The Hostetter Leadership and Administration Building in 2004 when former Superintendent Dr. Bill Hostetter retired.
For the past 30 years enrollment at BH-BL has remained relatively stable, which makes the need to continue to hold onto a fourth elementary school unnecessary. Currently, BH-BL is maintaining the entire building but only occupying two wings for district offices. Years ago, the Board of Education decided that it was in the best interest of taxpayers to downsize the district office space by selling the building.
“We are looking forward to having Mekeel Christian Academy move into this space,” says Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. “This property has a long history in our community as a place of education, and Mekeel fits that tradition perfectly.”
Meet & Greet
In late April 2016, BH-BL, the Town of Glenville and Mekeel Christian Academy will host a Meet & Greet at 50 Cypress Drive to give the BH-BL community an opportunity to meet its new neighbors and welcome them to the area. The specific date and time of the Meet & Greet will be announced on BH-BL’s website closer to April.
Additional Questions? If you have additional questions, please contact the appropriate organizations:
- BH-BL contact: Public Communications Coordinator Tara Mitchell, 399-9141, ext. 85041
- Mekeel Christian Academy contact: Main office, 370-4272
- Town of Glenville contact: Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle 688-1202
Frequently Asked Questions about the sale of the Hostetter Leadership Building
Why is the BH-BL Central School District selling the Hostetter Leadership Building/District Office Building
When enrollment decreased more than 30 years ago, the Hostetter Leadership Building–known then as Glenhaven Elementary School–was closed. Since that time, the building has served as the district’s administrative offices and has housed a few different educational programs, but has largely been unused. In 2009, the building flooded and school leaders accepted an insurance settlement with the intention of consolidating district offices through a future Bond Referendum.
The square footage of the building is such that it could serve more than 400 students. Currently, the district offices only occupy two small wings of the building. As part of the district’s voter-approved renovations project, the district offices are slated to relocate to a smaller, more economical work space at the high school during the 2017-18 school year, thus allowing BH-BL to construct more student space at the high school. (Learn more at www.bhbl.org/referendum).
Additionally, maintaining a vacant building could potentially raise the district’s liability and, because the building is considered educational space, it impacts the amount of state aid the district could receive if expansions at the other three elementary schools are needed in the future.
Who is purchasing the property from the district?
Mekeel Christian Academy (MCA) is purchasing the property and will renovate the building as a school to serve students in grades K-12. MCA has operated a private school in the area for nearly 40 years. Several students in the BH-BL community have attended MCA either under its current name or its former name, Schenectady Christian School (SCS). MCA is currently operating in the former Scotia-Glenville High School, which has been its home since 1979.
How much money will the district receive from the sale of the property?
The district is selling the property for $535,000. This amount, net of sales expenses, and the $1.6 million insurance settlement from the 2009 flood at the building, will be applied toward the district’s multi-year Building Our Second Century renovations referendum project. For more information, visit www.bhbl.org/referendum.
When will MCA officially own the property?
Pending all necessary approvals and inspections, the district and MCA expect to close on the property in late March 2016.
Where will the BH-BL district offices be located from March 2016 to September 2017?
BH-BL and MCA have agreed on a lease arrangement for the interim period that keeps BH-BL district offices in Hostetter while the high school expansion is being completed and MCA conducts the necessary upgrades to reopen the building to students.
When does MCA plan to open its doors to students?
MCA’s plan is to welcome students in time for the start of the 2017-18 school year.
Will having a private school in our district dilute BH-BL’s student population?
Families within the BH-BL community have had the option to attend MCA/SCS for nearly 40 years, and this option will continue. MCA may be slightly more attractive now that the school is located 5 miles closer, but the district does not anticipate a marked shift in enrollment.
Will having a private school in our district increase the costs to operate BH-BL?
There will be no increase in cost, but there are requirements placed upon a public school when a private school is located within its boundaries. For example special education or health and welfare costs incurred by BH-BL on behalf of students attending the private school from other districts, must be billed back to the district of residence.
Is there any tax roll impact?
By law, MCA is a tax exempt organization. Therefore, there will be no tax roll impact when MCA moves into the BH-BL community.