Lifetime Hauppauge residents could end up living where they once studied — but only if district residents approve the sale of a shuttered elementary school to a Long Island developer.
The district has a deal to sell the Whiporwil School to the Beechwood Organization for $13 million about four decades after the elementary school closed. The sale will be subject to a referendum on October 21 at the very same school, according to Newsday.
If the sale goes through, Beechwood reportedly plans on developing a luxury senior living community on the 12.8-acre site. There would be as many as 128 condo units up for grabs in the development in Islip Town.
The referendum may not be an easy win for Beechwood. Two early childhood programs are based in the building, which would need to be relocated. Additionally, many of the facilities are used for children’s recreational activities, including the gym and the soccer field. The former school is also a polling place.
The school has a fascinating history, as noted by Newsday. In 1980, it was shut down after an environmental consulting firm detected traces of vinyl chloride gas in the cafeteria, exposing children to a carcinogen. The district sued the town for damages, which the town settled in 1990 for $275,000.
A landfill next to the school closed several years later. The EPA deemed the school safe to reopen, but it never did.
Beechwood would also need to receive zoning changes from Islip Town to build the community. The company didn’t estimate what the sale prices would be for its condos. To adhere to state and town law, at least 10 percent of the units would be designated as affordable housing.
The project could generate close to $1 million in annual property tax revenue for the school district, according to Beechwood.
[Newsday] — Holden Walter-Warner