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The Duggan Elementary School in White Lake will be leased by the Monticello district to the Town of Bethel.

Done deal!

By Dan Hust
WHITE LAKE — June 8, 2010 — The Duggan Elementary School is about to become the Town of Bethel’s government center.
On Thursday, the Monticello Central School board unanimously approved leasing the school to the township once it’s closed at the end of this month, said Superintendent Pat Michel.
Just over four classrooms will become Bethel’s domain under the $1,250-a-month, five-year lease, which includes utilities and can be extended for another five years by mutual consent.
Supervisor Dan Sturm said the town won’t begin renovations work until July 1, a week after classes let out for the final time.
“It’s a pretty sad time over there,” he noted.
But this new lease agreement means the school won’t remain closed – at least as a community facility.
And for that, Monticello’s board and administration has Sturm’s thanks.
“They really took a devastating situation and made it just a little bit better,” he said.
First to open, he predicted, will be the western Sullivan County branch of the Monticello-based Literacy Volunteers of America, offering room for computers, tutors and a bookstore.
The town’s Youth Center will likely follow, with Sturm hoping to have both open by the end of July.
A town meeting room for town, planning and zoning board gatherings, among others, will adjoin the Justice Court, which will be relocated from its perch next to Route 55 in Kauneonga Lake (and that property will likely be put up for lease).
Both rooms can expand into the other to accommodate larger crowds, Sturm envisioned, though he added that security measures will be created to ensure criminals are not mixing with the general citizenry of Bethel, especially the youth.
Renovations will total around $5,000-$6,000, he said, paid for by the anticipated savings in utility costs at the Justice Court. Literacy Volunteers of America will cover its own expenses, and the rest is coming from grants.
The town will also have access to the gym and playground, mainly for the Youth Center. Other areas of the school, said Michel, can be reserved by the township via the district’s existing use application process.
With the town hall virtually next door, officials are hoping the school will remain the heart of the community.
“I think it’s a win-win for everybody,” Michel remarked.

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