The Greater Amsterdam School District has closed the 106-year-old Guy Park Avenue building that has housed the Walter Elwood Museum for the past 40 years.
The district’s Board of Education decided Wednesday to close the building after hearing concerns about the condition of the building from the museum’s director, Anne Peconie.
Superintendent Thomas Perillo said he received a letter Wednesday from Peconie citing health and safety concerns that varied from problems with the building’s roof and bricks falling from the chimney to a problem with bats, something Perillo said the district has been struggling with for awhile.
Perillo said Peconie’s concerns included the fact that the bats were beginning to filter down from the attic.
“The board didn’t want to take chances, so for the concern of the museum’s staff, and the students and children, we decided to close the building for health and safety reasons,” Perillo said.
Perillo said the district “knows the value of the museum for our students and for this community,” but doesn’t anticipate making repairs to the building so the museum can resume operations.
Jacqueline Meola, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees, said the museum’s staff is “devastated” by the school board’s decision.
“This is not what we wanted,” Meola said.
Meola said it had always been agreed that the museum would contact the school district about things affecting the building, including needed repairs. She said the district recently was failing to make repairs, so as tenants, the museum board decided to approach its landlord to discuss its concerns with the building. Meola said no one was expecting the school board to close the facility.
“We were nothing but shocked that this would happen so quickly,” she said.
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Categories: Schenectady County