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CATEC Board receives property appraisal, names new leadership

The Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center Board has new information that will influence how the school executes its strategic plan.

On Tuesday, board members received a property appraisal from the Charlottesville-based firm Pape and Co. The land valuation, which cost $9,000, is the result of a May 2014 offer by Piedmont Virginia Community College President Frank Friedman to house a new technical education center on land the college would donate to CATEC.

The center’s board is considering constructing a new facility at PVCC or renovating the existing building.

“If we decide to relocate CATEC to PVCC, then we might want to sell this property,” said Steve Koleszar, chairman of the CATEC board and a member of the Albemarle County School Board. “And if we’re going to sell it, then we want to get the highest value possible.”

The center’s board voted to discuss the matter in closed session in order to avoid hurting the body’s negotiating position should they decide to relocate.

In December, the board issued a request for proposals to determine possible values of the CATEC property under three scenarios: by right residential development under the existing R4 zoning; potentially using a special use permit under the current R4 zoning; and the “highest and best use” of the property under different zoning.

The first scenario, which assumes that the CATEC facility would be demolished, could potentially be developed in two ways, Pape and Co. said in the appraisal. After demolishing the building — which is estimated to cost at least $300,000 — redevelopment with an R4 subdivision could fetch about $2 million, according to the report.

An alternative Pape and Co. offered under the first scenario would be to redevelop the land with an institutional use, such as a church or private school. That option could be worth about $3.2 million.

“So you would still not be using the building, but you would be using the land under the current zoning for an institutional use,” said Dean Tistadt, chief operating officer for Albemarle County Public Schools.

The second scenario assumes that the board sells the building and land for use by an institution and estimates a market value of about $6.7 million.

Both plans that involve using the land for an institutional purpose, however, would require a special use permit from the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.

In the meantime, CATEC is facing about $300,000 in building improvements — to be split between Albemarle and Charlottesville — to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

Pape and Co. did not provide information on the third scenario, as doing so would require paying a company to complete additional study of the market to determine which type of zoning would have the greatest demand.

Despite Tuesday’s focus on facilities, Koleszar said the board’s first priority is programming and curriculum, as those factors will determine the type of facility needed.

Koleszar also said he’d like to see CATEC discussed more like a “collection of programs,” and less like a building.

“We may end up taking some space at PVCC but still keeping some facilities here because it makes more sense for them to be here,” he said.

In March 2014, CATEC’s board adopted a strategic plan in an attempt to modernize programming and align the technical school more closely with PVCC. The plan’s end goal is to better prepare CATEC students for middle-skill jobs, which are jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

New leadership

CATEC’s board also announced Tuesday two new employees who will join Assistant Principal Debbie Gannon on the school’s leadership team.

Catherine Lee, the current facilities service coordinator for the University of Virginia, has been named CATEC’s new strategic planning and workforce development officer. Beginning May 6, the University of California-Berkley graduate will focus on the execution of CATEC’s strategic plan.

Craig Smith, chairman of the career and technical education department at Manassas Park High School in Manassas Park, has been named CATEC’s dean of academic affairs. In this role, he will provide leadership for CATEC’s staff and students.

Bruce Bossleman, who has served as interim director, will return to his previous role of adult education and apprenticeship coordinator.

“This team has to come together, and as they start implementing the strategic plan, they’ll be coming back to us,” Koleszar said.