During a special Milford Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel presented board members with the option of utilizing the Armory for office or storage space, but board members declined the offer with the argument that costs of maintaining and possibly repairing the building outweigh the benefits of the additional space.
Milford School District board members have rejected an offer to use the abandoned Milford Armory for additional space.
During a special Milford Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel presented board members with the option of utilizing the Armory for office or storage space.
The Milford Armory, located on N. Walnut Street, was previously used by the Delaware National Guard until a few years ago and is now a vacant building owned by the state. Kohel said Sen. F. Gary Simpson (R-Milford) had worked with legislators to strike a deal with the district, offering the Armory to Milford School District for $1.
Delaware National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Leonard Gratteri said the local unit moved out of the Milford Armory, which was built in 1938, in March 2013 and turned the property over to the state in the summer of 2013. Local Guard units, like the one housed in Milford, have moved from previous locations to take advantage of a newly built, federally-funded facility in Newark, Gratteri said.
Because of the age of the building, board members questioned its condition, and cited the added expenses of repairing, renovating or maintaining an old building as the reason why they rejected the offer.
“I think we’re just trading one problem for another,” said board member Sharon A. Kirby.
The Milford Armory is not ADA compliant, and has a steam-powered heating system, two issues that were addressed as possible added costs. Glen Stevenson, supervisor of building and grounds, said it would be relatively simple to make the building ADA compliant, but also added that no formal cost analysis of needed repairs was assessed.
“In light of our financial dilemma, I love getting a free building. But it’s not a free building,” said board member Mark Schanne.
The option was rejected with a vote of 4-0. Board President Marvin Schelhouse and board members Patrick Emory and Hunter Emory were absent, while Board Vice President Renate Wiley presided over the meeting.