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California developer hopes to have 150-unit complex started by spring

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PHILADELPHIA — The largest school district in the north country may have more than 200 more students from a new housing complex by next December.

At Thursday’s Indian River Central Board of Education meeting, Business Manager James R. Koch said Fidelity American Holdings Corp., Laguna Niguel, Calif., wants to break ground on a 150-unit apartment complex by spring.

The board discussed the possibility of renovating or adding another school building to address the enrollment challenge.

Mr. Koch had a conversation with a company representative Tuesday about the potential townhouse-style apartment complex on property near Walmart on Route 11.

Last year, Fidelity American Holdings had asked for $11.4 million in grants to build a total of 1,179 housing units between it and COR Development Co., Fayetteville, Morgan Management, Rochester, and Dawn Homes Management, Albany. Dawn Homes put Jefferson Apartments on hold.

The 150 units in Fidelity American’s Phase One feature 24 two-bedroom apartments, 114 three-bedroom apartments and 12 four-bedroom apartments.

A possible Phase Two could mean 150 to 170 additional units.

“There is a potential for 207 kids coming out of this,” Mr. Koch said. “I think that number is high, though.”

However, 207 more students, in addition to the nearly 300 students coming from other housing developments, mean the Board of Education has to consider seriously where it would create the space to teach them.

“This number will get us to the max of what we can take on,” Superintendent James Kettrick said.

Redrawing the district lines, an option discussed at the Nov. 1 board meeting, seemed like a less viable option to board members.

“There are very few places you can actually redraw these lines,” Mr. Koch said. “The very next move would be placing Philadelphia Primary in the village of Evans Mills.”

Mr. Koch said the district office can be relocated to add more classroom space at the middle school. He also suggested adding a second floor to Philadelphia Primary and creating a covered parking space below it.

Board member Donald L. Brumsfield said the space on the opposite side of the water tower near Calcium Primary could be bought and built on, since most of the new housing developments are being built in its zone. Mr. Koch said the district owns all of the land in front of the primary school.

“The board is going to have to make a decision in the next 10 months,” Mr. Kettrick said.

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