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Interest in shuttered schools discussed

By Fritz Mayer
September 26, 2012

One party wants to use the empty Delaware Valley School building to open a private school for Chinese students, another party might like to use the Narrowsburg School building as a water testing facility. But nothing is certain.

That was the information delivered to the Sullivan West school board at their meeting on September 20 by Nora Manzolilo, who works with attorney John Hector, who has a contract to try to sell the schools for the district.

Regarding the Delaware Valley campus, a woman named Emily Wu, who owns a private school in Queens, made a verbal offer of $950,000 for the facility, but she also wanted some of the land in the 58-acre parcel that is adjacent to it because she wanted to build a dormitory, some tennis courts and other improvements.

That parcel, however, was sold by the district to Rich Winter last spring. Manzolilo said Hector is in talks with Winter’s attorney to see if he might want to sell some of the acreage to Wu, or perhaps if some other owner of nearby land will sell acreage to her.

Manzolilo said Wu told her, “There is a great call for students from China to come here to be educated in the United States.” Wu was working with an investor from China who visited the property. Manzolilo said, “We’ve seen their financials; they have the money.”

Regarding the Narrowsburg building, Manzolilo said there are two parties that have expressed interest. One is a company based in Switzerland, with 80,000 employees worldwide. “They do water testing,” she said, and they provide the service for many organizations in the U.S. including gas drilling companies.

A person she called a “local contact” looked at the building and was pleased that there is a water source in every class room. “They won’t have to do a lot of plumbing,” she said. But the company is also considering a site in Philadelphia.

Another party that has expressed interest is a man who represents Mike Morris and Stephen Smith, who are developing a broadband data center in the Sullums Building in Honesdale, PA. The Honesdale project, however, is not moving ahead quite as quickly as they expected, so they have put off making an offer.

Manzolilo said representatives of the Solution Project, which had been interested in using the building for a variety of community-centered purposes, does not plan on making an offer.

Hector’s contract to sell the schools expires in March 2013.