Want to buy a school? Pohatcong Township is auctioning off building on 2 acres

Want to buy a school? Pohatcong Township is auctioning off building on 2 acres


Want to buy a school? Pohatcong Township is auctioning off building on 2 acres

Pohatcong Township Mayor David Slack has a fond attachment to the former Shimer School, which he attended for kindergarten through fourth grade.

But the building purchased by the township in 2003 has sat vacant since 2005, following a lease with the Phillipsburg School District for preschool space.

"It kind of kills me to see it vacant this long," Slack said Wednesday.

“That’s the first thing you see when you drive down Route 519 from Alpha into Pohatcong,” he told lehighvalleylive.com. “It’s a very visible site. I would love to see somebody have enough guts to come in and say, ‘We’re going to save this old girl, and we’re going to renovate it and make it look nice.’”

Township officials hope to find a buyer when the building on about 2 acres at 599 New Brunswick Ave. is auctioned off later this month.

Bidding is scheduled 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 17, through 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18. The starting bid is $50,000 in the online auction being handled by Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co.

Pohatcong bought the property for $550,000 from the Pohatcong Board of Education, which vacated Shimer School in September 1999 once the Pohatcong School District’s new K-8 facility opened. Plans to turn it into a municipal building proved too costly, and the township has only used it as temporary trailer space during construction of new municipal offices at 50 Municipal Drive.

The township tried to auction it off previously, but that purchase fell through, Slack said.

The township has a redevelopment plan approved for the property allowing a number of new uses, including commercial office space or apartments. With renovations for access for people with disabilities, the school could be reused, as opposed to someone tearing it down to redevelop the prominent property, Slack said.

"The structure itself is sound, the roof is still sound," Slack said. "It just comes down to dollars and cents. Does it make more sense to start from scratch or try to work with what's there."

Township council is scheduled to approve a bid no later than its meeting Tuesday, March 3.

By Kurt Bresswein | For lehighvalleylive.com
Updated Feb 05, 2020; Posted Feb 05, 2020