Frequently Asked Questions

  • Many questions can be answered by reading the 2023-2024 Maple Avenue Building Presentation of District Options from the October 16, 2023, Maple Avenue Task Force meeting.

     

    If you have any questions regarding the Maple Ave building, please email mapleavenue@chesterufsd.org.
    Please note, emails will not be answered on an individual basis. Answers to questions can be found below.   

    When will the District make a decision on the building?

    The District wants to engage and gather input from the community in a thorough review of the Maple Avenue building before making a decision, so this process is estimated to take approximately four or five months to complete.

    Why doesn’t the District make a decision now on Maple Avenue?
    The District respects the voices of the Chester community and honors the history and tradition of the Maple Avenue building, so we are creating this process for a decision. Although we will not be able to make a decision that will please everyone, we are hoping this process will include all voices for the best decision for our community and our students.  

    Has the District already predetermined what it would like to do with the building?
    No. The District has made no decision, either officially or unofficially, on the building. This process will be truly open and many facts need to be gathered and require the District’s voters to authorize any plan. 

    Will the District make its decision based on what the majority of the community would like?
    The District and its Board of Education will make a decision that is in the best interests of its students, the District and the community after performing a thorough review, which will include community input. Gaining a full understanding from the community will be a consideration. 

    How can I be involved in the decision-making process?
    The District has its existing Parent Advisory Panel, which is made up of approximately 35 parents in all grades in the District, and has begun the process of inviting people to join its Maple Avenue Task Force. The task force will be composed of approximately 15-20 members of our community with various voices and opinions. In addition, community members will have the opportunity to contribute through a community survey and open community forum. The District welcomes differing opinions in the hopes of coming together to decide what is best for the community, the school district, and its students. 

    Will costs be weighed when making a decision?
    Part of that process will involve considering the costs to the taxpayers and the historical significance of the building for the residents of Chester. There are obviously costs involved that need to be explored during this process and the District is planning to gather information regarding those costs so the community can be better informed. 

    How can I learn more?
    The District will continue to update the community on this process through various updates on its website and a dedicated website page, chesterufsd.org/mapleaveue. The District will also provide various updates during school board meetings. 

    Was the roof’s failure a result of a lack of maintenance to the building?
    No. The roof damage was determined to be from high winds causing a failure of the roofing system. The wind caused the polystyrene insulation to pull away from the tectum decking. The failure of the roof also allowed large amounts of rain from the storm to enter the building. 

    When was the building last occupied?
    The building was last occupied by Orange-Ulster BOCES during the 2018-19 school year. 

    Has the District tried to find a buyer so the building may be repurposed?
    The District has had a few parties interested in buying the building. The most recent was the Chester Public Library, which performed a Building Conditions Survey and ultimately decided it was too costly to refurbish.

    Was the library’s Building Conditions Survey specific to building a school?
    No, the Building Conditions Survey performed for the library was drafted for repurposing the building into a library. 

    Will I have the opportunity to vote on the plan the District decides on?
    Yes, the District will be putting a plan before voters to ultimately approve or deny. 

    What will happen to the fields and the gym?
    In any plan provided to the public for consideration, the fields and the gym will remain intact.
     
    I am concerned that people living beyond Chester can complete the Community Survey. Will you have skewed results that will not reflect the true wants of the community?
    While the ThoughtExchange community survey platform allows for broad participation, it has a range of tools to ensure that the results accurately represent the perspectives of those within the school district. Leaders can use Thought Exchange's rating and theming to highlight and categorize important thoughts and ideas. They can also employ keyword and sentiment analysis to identify key areas of concern or interest and utilize heat maps to visualize support and opposition.
     
    Can the District repurpose the building into a community center, library or some other use for the community?
    The School District cannot repurpose the building to a community center or other non-school-related use. Such use would not be eligible for state aid from New York State Education Department and therefore not a feasible option for the District. A gift of deed to a local municipality would achieve this goal. The District has not been formally notified of any interest at this time.
     
    Can the District sell the building to a specific entity?
    If the District, board and the community decide to sell the building, it cannot sell to a specific person, business or other entity. A Board of Education has a duty to obtain the best possible price for unneeded real property which is sold as per Appeal of Lawson 24 Ed Dep Rep 132.