Thanet Property Agreement
Posted on 06/08/2018

Dear families and staff,

I want to share with you an important update to our plans for the facilities referendum on October 2.

Today, the District finalized an agreement to purchase a 15-acre property on Thanet Circle as part of our referendum this fall.  The purchase will not increase the cost of the referendum, and is actually projected to reduce expenditures. In terms of size, location, existing buildings, rental income and future flexibility, this property offers benefits to PPS and taxpayers. We had previously made an offer on the Thanet property, which was declined.  When the property once again became available, we were able to negotiate an agreement, thereby replacing in the plans for our referendum the 3-acre property on Herrentown Road and the construction of an addition at JW for central office administration.

The Board believes this much larger piece of property, located near the Princeton Shopping Center and minutes from our schools, offers short and long-term opportunities for PPS and our community.  If the referendum is approved, the property will provide space for central office administration, maintenance, and transportation. In the future, the property opens up other possibilities, such as additional athletic fields (potentially with lights) and a self-funding preschool center to serve more of our families.

Specific benefits that the Board carefully considered with the Thanet property include:  

  • Two existing three-story office buildings.  Two stories of one building will house the district’s central office administrators as well as transportation, facilities and maintenance staff. A third-story tenant will add approximately $200,000 in annual rental income to the PPS operating budget. No new construction or front-lawn parking will be needed at JW, reducing costs and leaving future flexibility at that site.  
  • Eliminating rental expense. Existing buildings allow our administration to move in soon after the referendum, thereby eliminating rental costs (potentially $400,000 per year which would come from our operating budget) while new buildings are being constructed.
  • Future Athletic Fields. With 15 acres, the site provides us with potentially two, maybe three, additional athletic fields, possibly with lights, to be used by both the school district and the town.
  • Space for a future preschool.  The site also offers the possibility of expanding our preschool program to provide that learning advantage to more of our under-resourced families while at the same time providing quality preschool on a tuition basis to those who can afford it.  The expansion of our preschool was part of our original vision for the referendum and is consistent with our strategic planning goal of closing the achievement gap.
  • Future School Site.  Given the scarcity of land in Princeton, this is a rare opportunity to secure a 15-acre property in close proximity to our current schools. If needed, decades from now, the property could be a site for a future school.

As we head towards a vote on October 2, the Thanet purchase agreement will allow us to address the urgent space needs in our growing district. I look forward to sharing more with you about our plans for the referendum and our vision for the district at a Town Hall Meeting to be held on June 18 at 7:00 PM in the JW auditorium.  I hope to see many of you there!

Sincerely,

Steve Cochrane