District will not buy Pear Tree property
DARIEN — The district announced it has no plans to purchase the building Pear Tree Point School will soon be leaving.
Earlier this year, the kindergarten through sixth-grade school announced it would be closing at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
“In an early all-school meeting, we discussed the many factors that have been impacting Pear Tree Point School and other small independent elementary schools in our region and beyond for a number of years,” wrote Headmaster David Trigaux. “Due to the cumulative impact of these factors, Pear Tree Point School will close at the end of this academic year.”
Trigaux did not specify any reasons for the closing in his letter.
Since then, a number of community members had approached Darien Superintendent Dan Brenner to see if the district may acquire the Pear Tree Point Road property. However, at a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night, Brenner said the district is not pursuing that avenue.
“There’s been a lot of conversation about the fact it might be for sale,” Brenner said.
Ninety Pear Tree Point LLC is listed of the owner of 4.86-acres of land at 90 Pear Tree Point Road, the location of the school. The land and buildings have a total assed value list with the town of $6,113,500.
Brenner went on to add he did visit the school, but found it didn’t fit in with any of the district’s plans to expand.
“We have taken a look because a number of residents, community members have said did you know (it was closing)?” Brenner said. “The truth is I didn’t know, but after some exploration and visiting the site and looking at it from context of a larger plan of work we did last year, it became clear to me the site…really doesn’t fit inside context of items we’ve talked about in the master plan. While it initially might appear as something that could be very attractive, the answer is it isn’t a good fit.”
Brenner cited the small size of the classrooms and the cafeteria, as well as the price point given the location of the school as some of the reasons it wouldn’t work for the district.
The district is looking for a new location for Fitch Academy, its alternative high school program which is currently housed at the Darien Library for a rental fee of $24,000 a year. Brenner also added it was suggested to him that the district use the space to house their early learning program.
Pear Tree Point School was founded 22 years ago in 1996 and has over one thousand graduates, the majority of which have gone onto other independent schools. The school also uses a core knowledge curriculum which specifies what information students need to know at certain grade levels. Students from Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Southport, Stamford, Westport and Wilton all attend.
Ninety Pear Tree Point LLC was incorporated in 1994 and a Robert Ralph Parks is listed as its chief operating officer.
In his letter, Trigaux said he’s dedicated to helping current students and families find new schools.