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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Historic Orange House Could Become BOE Tech Building


ORANGE, N.J.: The Orange Board of Education (BOE) is planning a new home for one of its administrative departments.

According to a legal notice, the Board is seeking to conduct a renovation and convert the three-story building, located in the City of Orange Township’s historic Seven Oaks neighborhood at 455 Fairview Avenue, between Scotland Road and Lincoln Avenue, into “its information and technology building.” The rear of the .2342 acre property is located adjacent to the BOE’s administrative office building, while the rest borders other homes and an apartment building. 

As part of the proposal, parking would be provided for the information and technology building, and there would be access to the administrative building from the premises. The BOE estimated in 2015 that the renovation would cost $65,000, and reported in January 2016 that it does not intend to seek funding from the New Jersey Department of Education for this project. In early 2014, the BOE acquired the home from a local resident for $240,000, according to NJ Parcels records. The purchase agreement was unanimously approved by the BOE members in 2013. 

At the time, the resolution approving the decision stated that “the Superintendent of Schools recommends the acquisition of additional administrative space to help alleviate the space deficiencies required to provide a more structured work environment required by the district.” 

City records show that the Board’s acquisition of the property meant that property taxes could no longer be accessed for it. The structure dates to 1894, according to Zillow, and includes eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, a patio, and a rear two-car garage. 

The Orange Planning Board was scheduled to hear the proposal on July 26th. This is not the only recent proposal by the BOE to change the use of local properties. Last year, Essex County Place exclusively reported that the historic homes at 386 and 396 Clarendon Place were slated to be demolished to make way for a parking lot, while the house at 366 Clarendon Place was scheduled to be rehabilitated as part of an expansion of Orange High School.

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