The Watertown City School District has been trying to acquire the Army Reserve Center, 500 S. Massey St., for nearly two years.
And now, one more step remains with the federal government, according to Superintendent Terry N. Fralick. The district is waiting on the buildings final survey, a radiological study.
There are some federal properties across the nation that have radioactive materials, Mr. Fralick said. To my knowledge, it was a part of the protocol they have to follow. Im told itll be the last step in this phase.
The district is not the only entity that has been interested in the building. It was vacated in 2010 by the Army, which moved the center to a new facility on Fort Drum. Community Assisted Living Corp. considered it for an assisted-living facility later that year. The Watertown Police Department also considered relocating there from the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building.
When a federal building is vacated, there is an order interested groups must follow. The property would be available first to an interested federal agency, and then to an agency that deals with homeless people. The school district was third on the list.
Watertowns Board of Education discussed the center at a January 2011 meeting where it also approved demolishing the former district office building on Butterfield Avenue.
If the radiological survey is all clear, the district will need the state Education Departments approval to acquire the building.
All of the surveys have been paid for by the government, Mr. Fralick said.
Were not even sure we have to pay for it yet, he said of the building. There is a possibility there wont be any cost.
Mr. Fralick said the districts maintenance department probably will be moved to the center if it is acquired. The Lansing Street building used for the maintenance headquarters will be sold. Additionally, adult evening classes and alternative-education programs could be housed there.
It would be an ideal place to house a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program, he said.
The district has been looking into such a program for three or four years, he said.