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Lewis County starts final push to vacate former school

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County has begun its final push to vacate a former Catholic school that will be returned to classroom space.

County workers on Tuesday began moving the Office for the Aging from the old St. Peter’s Catholic School on Shady Avenue to the Lowville Commons on South State Street, while the Board of Elections will make the same move next week.

“It’s going to be a little unnerving and what not, but we’ll get through it,” said Legislator Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, chairman of the legislative Buildings and Grounds Committee.

All telephone numbers will remain the same.

While it will likely take more time for Office for the Aging staff to get things settled in their new home, they should be open for business there today, he said.

Visitors to the new office should go up the ramp on the South State Street side of the building, then go in the first door on the right.

Moving the elections office will probably take a little more time and effort, mainly because of the electronic voting machines, Mr. Bush said.

“We had to do some electrical modifications so the machines could be plugged in,” he said.

County election officials plan to take much of next week to make the move but expect to be established in the lower level of the Commons building by July 1, one week before candidates can start returning designating petitions.

Access to the new Board of Elections office is through a rear entrance off the parking lot.

The county for the past several years has rented office space at the former Catholic school.

However, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services is moving forward with plans to lease and eventually buy that building and return it to educational uses.

The village Planning Board on Monday approved a request for a use change that would make that possible.

BOCES officials propose moving the 41-student alternative education program from the Howard G. Sackett Technical Center campus in Glenfield to the former school building here because students in the full-day program now have no access to gymnasium or cafeteria facilities.

The county office moves were intended to be temporary, as county officials plan to solicit bids for constructing a two-story, 45,000-square-foot building on outer Stowe Street that would eliminate the need for leased office space.

However, legislators have said a decision to go forward with the proposed building will come only if they deem the bids affordable.

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