News of Otsego County

oneonta christian academy


Empty Bowls Luncheon


BENEFIT LUNCH – Noon – 2 p.m. Support Cooperstown Food Pantry at Empty Bowls Luncheon. Pick a unique bowl by a local potter to enjoy lunch of soup by local chef. Suggested donation $15. Parish Hall, Christ Church, 69 Fair St., Cooperstown. 607-547-2627 or visit

HELICOPTER – 5:30 p.m. Army Reserve & NY Army National Guard collaborate with Cooperstown Graduate Program for military exercise featuring UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters landing at Bassett. Public is welcome to observe, tour once the aircraft are shut down. Please follow direction of military personnel to ensure a safe distance from the aircraft while it is in operation. Landing will be near Bassett Helipad, across from Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown.

Oneonta Christian School To Buy Otego Elementary


Oneonta Christian School

To Buy Otego Elementary

OCA Parent Kim Hastings is a picture of delight, above, as the Unatego Central school board announced a few minutes ago that the Oneonta Christian Academy’s $100,000 bid for the vacant Otego Elementary School has been accepted. Seated behind Hastings, OCA board member Rita Oellerich and Elizabeth Cook, 12th grade teacher and director of programming, embrace.  The vote was unanimous, with board member Dick Downey saying the sale “maintains the heart of the community.”  Inset left, OCA school board Vice President Julie Dostal expresses appreciation.  The OCA will begin holding events at the Mission-style 1931 building that dominates the village’s downtown immediately, Cook said, and plans are to conduct summer school there next year, and to start classes there in September.  “All we’ll need is the keys,” Cook said.  (James Cummings/

Oneonta Christian Academy Pleads For Otego Elementary

3 Bidders Seek To Buy Vacant School

Oneonta Christian Academy

Pleads For Otego Elementary

Oneonta Christian Academy board member Rita Oellrich presents her school’s case to the Unatego Central School Board Monday evening. At left is Liz Cook, the academy’s director of programming. (James Cummings/

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to

OTEGO – The Oneonta Christian Academy is running out of room.

“We are only limited by our size,” Elizabeth Cook,  director of programming and 12th-grade English teacher, told the Unatego Central School Board Monday, Oct. 28.

The OCA was one of three bidders trying to convince the school board to sell them the Otego Elementary School, which it closed in the summer of 2018.

Dirig Design of Wells Bridge, a development firm, and Granite Data Solutions, a high-tech company from California that seeks to hire disabled veterans, are the other two bidders.

The Unatego school board is planning a public meeting Nov. 4 to announce the winning bid.

“We don’t even have a gym,” Cook said. “The entire school tears down every classroom to do an event; every single kid puts their hands on every desk and every chair in order to make the space do what we need it to – and it’s exhausting.”

Last year alone, the school saw a 13 percent increase in enrollment, reaching a five-year high of 92 students.

The academy, now at 158 River St., Oneonta, has a vision of a larger school and what it would mean for their current students, as well as any future attendees, Cook said.

The former 34,000-square-foot Otego School on Route 7 in the middle of the village is big enough for that vision. “We will only use about two-thirds of the building,” says Cook, offering the rest as rental space for local businesses, as well as an affordable event space for community members.

In the future, the idea is to develop early education programs that would benefit Otego families.

In his presentation, Adam Dirig, CEO of Dirig Design, said he has a seven-year plan to develop a mixed-use Otego Commons – nine apartments, 16 offices and community space, including updates to the gymnasium, hallways, and bathrooms.

School board member Kenneth Olson expressed concern: “Sixteen office spaces is aggressive for an area like ours.” But Dirig expressed confidence in the concept.

He also expressed his enthusiasm about the future of the building, calling it “a good symbol of the community – I don’t want it to go to waste.”

“There’s a need in Otego for apartments,” adding Dirig project manager Dan Dahlstrom. “There are also a lot of businesses in Oneonta that don’t need a Main Street location.”

Granite Data President Brigg Goodwin described his plan to develop the school into a full-service New York/East Coast sales and logistics branch of the company.

Goodwin, who grew up in a small town of 3,500 in Iowa, relates to Otego’s circumstances and believes that his company’s proposal will help revitalize the area.

“It makes such a huge impact on small communities, to be able to bring in jobs like that,” he says. “Altruism is dying with the information age, we don’t rely on each other as much and, call me old-fashioned, I like altruism, I like people who jump in and help out.”

His company’s proposal hopes to focus hiring efforts on local veterans first. “If there’s an Otego resident who’s a veteran and an Otego resident who’s a non-veteran, we’ll lean towards the veteran,” he says.


Oneonta Christian School Lacks Space For Its Needs

Oneonta Christian School

Lacks Space For Its Needs

Otego Elementary Has It All, Unatego Board Told
Julie Dostal, vice president, Oneonta Community Christian Academy, addresses the Unatego Central School board this evening on the academy buying the former Otego Elementary School for a new campus.   Elizabeth Cook, OCCA director of programming, said the school has outgrown its school on River Street, and even lacks a gym.  The Otego school has all of that, she said.  The school board also heard presentations from Adam Diring of Diring Design Inc. on putting apartments, a community space and offices there, and Brigg Goodwin, president, Granite Data Solutions, McClellan Park, Calif., hopes to use the school for a sales/logistic branch of its company, which tries to hire disabled veterans for its products.  The school board is planning a meeting in November to determination which bidder will win the property. (James Cummings/


Oneonta Christian School Looks At Otego Elementary

Oneonta Christian School

Looks At Otego Elementary

Unatego Central Board Also Considers

Housing, IT Firm For School It Closed

Unatego Central School District closed Otego Elementary in 2017, and consolidated the lower grades in Unadilla Elementary.

OTEGO – Three new plans for the former Otego Elementary School building, including one from the Oneonta Christian Academy, will be presented to the Unatego Central school board at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28.

The entire board will hear the presentations, ask questions, and then make a decision at a Nov. 4 meeting on which proposal to accept.

The three proposals are:

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103