The Community Music School of Buffalo will decide within the next few months whether it plans to renovate its Elmwood Avenue facility or move to a new location. The nonprofit organization, which has spent 53 of its 89 years at 415 Elmwood Ave. near Bryant Street, is considering a number of scenarios. Options include renovating the current facility, buying or leasing a different facility, building a new school, and co-locating with one or more other organizations.
The school’s board of trustees has appointed a site selection committee to study all options and make a recommendation by early fall. The committee is chaired by Kellena Kane, a real estate development manager for Uniland Development Company. Kane is a Community Music School trustee and parent. The committee also includes a faculty representative and a number of community volunteers with property and real estate expertise.
“We love our neighborhood and we love the character of our building, but we need to evolve,” said Jeff Paterson, the school’s executive director, “We need the electrical capacity to add new equipment. We need climate control for the health of our Steinway pianos. We need better accessibility for people with disabilities. We need soundproof studios, and we need performance space for our students. Let’s face it: a music school without performance space is like a YMCA without a gym.”
The school is seeking ideas about potential sites and expressions of interest from organizations that may want to share space. Suggestions may be sent to the committee by email at email@example.com. The school is not currently seeking proposals from realtors, architects, contractors or other vendors, because no decisions about renovating or building have been made.
Any actual renovation or move is likely at least a year or two away, according to Paterson. “Once we’ve charted our course,” he said, “we’ll need time for fundraising and implementation. So it’s business as usual for the time being.”
Community Music School was founded in 1924. It provides private music lessons, as well as group classes and ensembles, for students of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and ambitions. The school also operates satellite locations in Amherst, Clarence Center, East Aurora, Lancaster and Lockport.