Planet Princeton

Valley Road Lease Extended

The Valley Road School

Two non-profits that use space in the old Valley Road school building will be allowed to stay in the building until at least May.

The township committee approved a lease extension Monday night for the old portion of the Valley Road building. The extension gives the non-profits that call the school home – Corner House and  Princeton Community Television – until May to find new locations. Previously the  groups were to move by the fall.

George McCollough, executive director of Princeton Community Television, thanked officials for the lease extension Monday night on behalf of the group’s board, producers and community members who use the facility.

“The extension gives us some breathing space,” McCollough said. “It gives us time to try to find another space. We’re taking any leads. If anyone knows of any available space, please let us know.”

Recently the school board rejected proposals by two groups for Valley Road site, saying neither of the proposals met the board’s criteria for the use of the site. The board also wants to wait until after the vote on consolidation to make a decision on how best use the site. The board will revisit the issue at the end of the school year.

The borough and township have proposed that the school building be demolished. The neighboring firehouse would be expanded, and a new building would be built to house the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. Corner house would possibly be relocated in that building or moved to Borough Hall if consolidation passes.

A second proposal from residents calls for the building to remain. The Valley Road School-Adaptive Reuse Committee, a citizen group that has also formed a nonprofit to raise money, wants to create a community center at the site that would house various nonprofits with an education mission.

“The lease agreement extends our pre-existing agreement to May of 2013 to give the school board more time to determine what it wishes to do long-term with the Valley Road building,” Township Administrator Jim Pascale said at the township committee meeting Monday night.

Township resident Kip Cherry, a leader of the group that wants to preserve the school as a community center, said she is glad the building ahs heat, but is concerned about leaky roofs and rain coming in.

Pascale said the township will be taking a look at the roof in light of an engineering report regarding the building that was submitted to the school board.

Cherry said she has asked for the full engineering report, but has only received a summary. “I was told I couldn’t have it,” she said. “I guess I’m going to have to file an Open Public Records request to get it.”

“We will approach the tenants and they will be required to pay a pro-rated share of the cost of repairs,” Pascale said.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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