Voters decide to buy house to expand Colonial playground, provide office space (from our June print edition)


Editor’s note: After our print edition went to press, voters approved the purchase of 314 Pelhamdale Ave. described in this story.

COLONIAL SCHOOL — By a unanimous vote on May 1, the Pelham Board of Education approved a contract to purchase the house and land residing at 314 Pelhamdale Ave. just next to the blacktop of Colonial School playground.

The structure is 3,169 square feet and sits on a 0.25 acre lot, as described by the Redfin Corporation. The house was built in 1910, over a century ago. In the last four years, the value of the house has risen by 10 percent.

After the Colonial Times went to press, Pelham residents all over town voted June 18 on whether to approve the purchase of the property.

If approved, “the property could provide expanded playground and green space for Colonial School, which is currently very limited because of its location in a residential neighborhood,” according to a press release from the Pelham School District.

The house could also be utilized for administrative offices or rooms for specials. Just this year, the  music room became a mobile cart/piano in the past year. With the newly found space, that old space set aside to be the music room could be restored.

According to the school district, the contract stipulates a purchase price for the house of $1.1 million. The house will also have to be renovated to make it fit for administrative offices.

Unlike building the new Hutchinson School, where voters had to approve borrowing money for the construction project, the district would use existing undesignated reserve funds to buy the house next to Colonial. As a result, the purchase would not impact the taxes of residents of the Pelham school district, the district said.

“I think that it is important for the purchase to be tax neutral,” said Todd Kerman. “It will make more people approve.”

Dr. Cheryl Champ, the superintendent of schools, said in the press release that the school board has been for some time looking for properties to expand Colonial School because of its lack of necessary space both inside and out.

“I feel like we could definitely use the extra space,” said Principal Tonya Wilson. “Before we had to be very flexible with our space. Mrs. Rodriguez’s room was once the teachers’ lounge. I never thought we would ever get more necessary work space. I’m very excited to see how we can be creative in using the house if the community approves our purchase.”

On June 18, the public vote was held at the Pelham Memorial High School main gym anywhere between 7 a.m and 9 p.m.