After a pair of Napa Valley grade schools shut their doors this summer, the sale of their campuses could return millions of dollars to a cash-strapped school district while opening up land for homes and vineyards, according to an appraisal report.
In an August study, Napa-based appraiser David J. Vargas estimates a market value of $8 million for the site of Yountville Elementary School, and $1.8 million for the Mt. George Elementary property in the Coombsville area east of Napa.
Both appraisals were based on site visits in August and assume that the Napa Valley Unified School District will sell the sites after the campuses – the district’s smallest by enrollment – permanently close in June, and that existing buildings will be removed and the land rezoned for new uses.
The fate of both schools was sealed Oct. 24 when the NVUSD board voted to wind down the Yountville and Mt. George schools, a step the district says will save $1 million annually and help cut into the district’s deficit as the local population of children and teenagers declines – and with it the per-student educational funding provided by the state.
The higher value for the Yountville campus is based on its potential to host dozens of housing units on its 6.8 acres at 6554 Yount St., Vargas wrote – up to 75 dwellings at a density of 11 units per acre. The final number of homes, however, will depend on factors including state laws intended to protect a school’s recreational areas after it closes. (The Yountville school is equipped with a ballfield, blacktop and play structures.)
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At Mt. George, the most likely second life for the 4.9-acre campus at 1019 Second Ave. is as a residential estate – a main home plus a smaller second dwelling and a guest house – surrounded by vineyards, according to Vargas’ appraisal. Its location in unincorporated Napa County limits multifamily or other high-density uses, and surrounding lands are zoned “residential country,” meaning that homes must be placed on parcels of at least 10 acres, effectively blocking subdivision.
The process of selling the school sites would begin with talks by the same 11-member committee that advised NVUSD about which campuses to close, according to Mike Pearson, the district’s assistant superintendent for operational services.
The advisory group recommended shuttering Mt. George and Yountville but called for preserving West Park and Alta Heights, which have NVUSD’s next smallest enrollment totals. (Mt. George currently is teaching some 240 children from kindergarten to the fifth grade and Yountville about half that number.)
The committee is expected to take up the matter later this year, although meetings have not yet been scheduled, according to Superintendent Rosanna Mucetti.