**WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: bwschools.net/bwsdpromovideo
The Baldwin-Whitehall School District rolled out the red carpet for area real estate agents on Thursday night—literally—as they gathered at Baldwin High School to watch an 18-minute video that highlights the advantages of living in that district.
Students in Baldwin's National Honor Society group then guided the event's attendees down a red carpet to a large group instruction room to view the video before many then remained for a tour of the high school, which recently underwent a $65-million renovation that has earned national recognition for its design.
Many district officials, especially John B. Schmotzer, the president of the B-W School Board, championed the idea of using district money—around $20,000—to pay for the production of the video.
Schmotzer's vision is for realtors to use the video—which promotes not only the positives of enrolling children in the B-W School District but also the positives of living in Baldwin Borough, Whitehall Borough or Baldwin Township—to sell homes in the district.
"Hopefully, they will take advantage of it, and they'll use it as a sales tool," Schmotzer said after the screening. "I think it will do nothing but help the community, help the school district, help the realtors.
"The more people that desire to live in this community—it's the supply and the demand. It's just like anything else; the more demand and the less supply means that the values go up. So, the value of the homes can definitely increase in this community if the demand is here.
"With the increase of the value of homes, that also brings working people into the community. More wage taxes are being paid to the school districts and to the local municipalities—more revenue to the schools. So, everybody wins."
Many realtors said, during the event's reception—before watching the video—that they had never heard of other school districts reaching out to realtors in such a way.
"Not that I have been invited to," said Jeff Earley, for example, an agent at Northwood Realty Services' Upper St. Clair office with over 13 years of experience. "I know they (many districts) sometimes do open houses and things like that with parents, but I've never seen them do something like this for real estate agents ... I don't know of a school district that's ever done it.
"I think this is a great idea, especially to bring people in from outside communities to show them what a great addition they've put on here (at the high school) and what a great school this is."
Added David M. Depretis, the president of the Baldwin Borough Council, "I think it's great. It can't hurt to attract new people into the borough. I don't know about Whitehall, but Baldwin's an older community where there's always turnover.
"I think this is great to get them (new homebuyers) involved and get them to move into our community."
After the show, it was hard to find any realtor who wasn't impressed with the video and who didn't see it as a useful tool to try to sell homes. And many took copies of the DVD home with them to use in that very capacity.
Jim Swasey, also of Howard Hanna, gave his impression of the B-W School District after seeing the video.
"Like a diamond in the rough," he said, "like you didn't know it was here."
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