By Allison Collins
OTEGO – And then there were four.
The Unatego Board of Education announced early this week receipt of a fourth request for proposal regarding purchase of Otego Elementary.
According to a press release issued Monday, the fourth proposal was inadvertently lost in an email spam folder, but time- and date-stamped before the district’s June 29 deadline for proposals.
The RFP, sent from Endicott-based company AgZeit and ValuAg, would see the building and partial grounds repurposed as an agricultural business and training center.
This final RFP joins three others, announced at the board’s July 9 meeting, from the Kildonan School for students with language-based learning disabilities; a senior housing developer; and a mixed-use developer that would reconfigure the building into apartments, office space and/or health care facilities.
Unatego Superintendent Dr. David Richards estimated that 30 people attended that meeting and said all proposals have been met with enthusiasm from district residents.
“I think they’re all excited,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to reconfigure that building for the greatest good of the district. There’s a lot of excitement out there, and a little fear … but by and large, I’m seeing a lot of optimism.”
He added that there’s been “a lot of buzz on social media” concerning the economic impact and potential for new jobs generated by a building purchase.
Per stipulations made in an earlier meeting, 12.5 acres of the property, including the ball fields, will be deeded to the Town of Otego for community use, Richards said, with 4.5 acres going with the building sale.
He said, “It’s pretty much a win-win for everybody.”
Following discussion at the July 9 meeting and the emergent fourth RFP, Richards said, the board determined to host a July 30 public hearing. Representatives from all four proposals, he said, are expected to attend.
“They were all invited to come in and do short presentations and answer any questions from the board,” he said, noting that three of the four were confirmed as of Wednesday.