From elementary school to 55 plus Schoeneck building will become apartments

By on June 27, 2012

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff, Staff Writer

The former Schoeneck Elementary School, which closed at the end of the 2010-11 school year, is the future site of apartments geared to the 55 plus age group. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

The rooms of a West Cocalico Township building once filled with books, pencils and students will soon become home to residents ages 55 years and older.

Myerstown real estate developers Moyer & Ziegler, who purchased the former Schoeneck Elementary School building in October of last year for $201,000, expect construction to begin soon to convert the structure into 17 one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments geared to those of or nearing retirement age.

"All apartments will be one floor except the gymnasium, which will have three loft apartments," said partner Sheldon Moyer. "They will be handicapped-accessible units in a quiet setting."

Moyer said units will include appliances and washer/dryer hookups. High-efficiency heat pumps with hydrolic electric baseboards will be placed in the apartments. The average rental price will be $900/month plus utilities.

Demolition at the site began last fall/winter, and new construction will start within a few weeks.

"We’re shooting for six months from the start date — probably around January 2013," said Moyer in terms of a completion date for the units. "The township has been very much in favor of this and has been working with us very well."

Cocalico School District officials voted to close the 46-year-old elementary school, whose enrollment was only around 100, in January 2011 to save about $580,000 annually. The decision avoided costly renovations to the deteriorating infrastructure of the building. A reduction in energy costs was made by merging the student body with that of Denver Elementary School, where a $2 million building addition completed during the 2011-12 school year increased space.

The West Cocalico Township officials approved the final plans for the apartment building earlier this month.

Supervisors approved a waiver request in May for preparation of the land development plan.

"They are only making changes to the inside of the building," said township manager Carolyn Friesema. "They are not changing any impermeable square footage."

According the Friesema, the township also approved variances on the following three items: the limit of structures containing apartments to no more than eight dwellings per building; limiting of the overall length of a structure containing apartments to 160 feet (this building being approximately 215 feet); and a rule that an apartment shall have no more than two dwellings with the same front set-back or building line (the current having three).

"The building permit was issued on June 15," said Friesema. She added that an open house event will be held when the renovations are done.

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