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Council Supports Executive’s Proposal to Sell Former Peary High School to Berman Hebrew Academy

Supporting a recent proposal presented by County Executive Ike Leggett that the County sell the former Peary High School property in Aspen Hill to the Berman Hebrew Academy, the County Council has voted to approve the sale. The purchase price, which ratifies the terms of the 1996 lease, is $1,914,860.

Peary closed in 1984 due to declining enrollment and deteriorated while vacant. In 1996, then-County Executive Douglas M. Duncan negotiated a lease agreement with the Berman Academy that included an option allowing the school to purchase the property. The proposed sale terms include a provision that would allow the County to repurchase the school if it is needed for public school use. 

The Academy’s use of the site is limited to school uses, and the public will still be able to use the fields, gymnasium and auditorium during non-school use times. The County may reclaim the school for public school use through a legal condemnation proceeding at the repurchase price plus relocation costs. Through this proceeding, the County could retake possession of the property five years after the condemnation action is final and non-appealable.

The Berman Academy has estimated that it has spent more than $9 million to refurbish the property that is surrounded by a residential neighborhood in Aspen Hill. There are about 700 students enrolled at the Academy.

The County Planning Board recommended approval of the sale in November and at a subsequent public hearing, a substantial majority of the approximately three dozen speakers supported the sale. Among those supporting the sale was the Aspen Hill Civic Association.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED AT: Monday, December 06, 2010 | 6:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010