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Hammondsport hears Curtiss school purchase offers

    HAMMONDSPORT—The Hammondsport school board heard two offers to buy the former Curtiss school during the Wednesday, Dec. 7, workshop meeting.
    Board President Jim Zimar explained the school board can’t discuss any financial particulars of the project that might affect the purchase offers. Superintendent Kyle Bower explained after the meeting that the school board will now set a date to make an announcement. He said at that time, the district will announce whether it is accepting either of the offers at a future meeting.
    There were seven members of the public in the audience to hear the presentations. Jim Keena spoke first. He has already invested and renovated in other parts of the village, including the Opera house and Artists in the Alley.
    Keena said the plan would be to turn the school into 14 apartment units. Each floor would have six two-bedroom units and one one-bedroom unit. Keena added that on the first floor the gym/kitchen would be turned into a fitness center which would allow community membership.
    As to the outside, Keena said he plans to leave the exterior mostly as it is with some minor repairs. He added he is still working on deciding outside use; residents have expressed concerns about children not being able to use the front hill for use, especially during the winter. Keena explained his lawyers are still examining that.
    Keena also said that plans now include establishing 16 patio homes on the back property of the Curtiss school. He said he wants to create housing for both the increasing older population and affordable housing for younger people to keep them in Hammondsport.
Simon Sananas explained that he wants to turn the school into an arts museum and center for disabled children to use art to learn. He explained that he helped his own son, who was not expected to live past two years, to walk and function through art. His son is now 10 years old. Sananas said he wants to create a center where children can learn through art, local and international artists can present their work, and local children can learn about art.
    The plans include renovating some space to allow for residents to come to Hammondsport to create and live for periods of time. Sananas added he wants to add a sculpture garden to the exterior. When board member Richard Drain asked about experience, Sananas said he and his wife lead a youth program organized by the Israeli government for three. Sananas added he has operated an art studio in Los Angeles.




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