Visions of using the former Ella F. Hoxie School building on Williston Road in Sagamore Beach as an art and cultural center will enter the realm of possibility if voters approve the use of $119,149 in Community Preservation Act funding at Bourne’s upcoming Spring Town Meeting.
The committee organizing the effort to preserve the historic school, built in 1909, filed an application requesting that amount last Friday, Town Clerk and Community Preservation Committee member Barry H. Johnson said. Approval of that request would be the first step in facilitating the long-term vision of the members of Hoxie Center for Art, Science, Education, and Culture Inc.
Members of that group want to see Hoxie become a performance and concert venue for local talent, as well as an exhibition space used by private art studies and public art galleries. The group envisions nationally recognized cultural exhibits and initiatives also housed in the building.
The group also sees the site becoming home to after-school programs that focus on sciences, technology, engineering, art, and math, supporting working parents at the same time. The building’s uses could include, the group said, a drop-in discovery center that explores scientific, technological, and historical learning.
The building could provide conference space for businesses and nonprofits. It might also house a satellite town library for the Sagamore Beach area.
It could also offer a place, for example, to teach those who want to earn work force readiness certifications in fields such as the hospitality industry, learn English As a Second Language, or receive a general education diploma, the application said.
The Hoxie center request, made for CPA funds earmarked for historic preservation, will need to pass muster with the Bourne Historic Commission and the CPC committee before it reaches voters, Mr. Johnson said.
According to the application, the total initial project contemplated by the committee will cost a little more than $144,000 and will include $74,209 to install a fire suppression system and for some building code remediation. Among the uses for the remaining monies would be the glazing and painting of trim and windows and other cosmetic improvements and meeting the American with Disabilities Act requirements for a handicapped accessible bathroom.
Those funds, to be combined with an estimated in-kind donation of labor by volunteers worth an estimated $22,570, should help the committee reach some of the first goals on its timetable, the group said.
Future goals include securing donations of expert guidance, and professional services worth some $100,000, as the group looks to make improvements to the building’s plumbing, heating and air-conditioning, electrical, and Internet technology systems.
The Hoxie center committee, now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, wants to enter a Purchase and Sales Agreement with the town and hopes to be able to use the Hoxie gymnasium to begin improvements with the goal of using it for fundraising events as its members work to fully assume the structure’s operational expenses of the building by July 1.
Along with the filing of the CPA request, the group is also working to secure other grants.
Bourne Fire Department members have, in the past, said they did not want to see any use the Hoxie building until it has been completely brought up to code. The town’s new facilities manager has gone through the school with the group, said Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino, who estimates that it will cost between $3 million and $4 million to completely renovate the structure.
Mr. Guerino also said the town is in the process of arranging a meeting between its insurance company and town counsel to discuss liability issues. No date has been set to bring the Hoxie group back before selectmen.
The application was submitted on behalf of the nonprofit by Allyson Bizer Knox, a marine science educator, artist, and small business owner. Members of the group include Leona Bombaci, a social worker and teacher and Barbara V. Fitzmaurice, a reference librarian who has more than 20 years experience working with nonprofits, as well as experience producing plays for the Falmouth Theatre Guild.
The committee also includes Elizabeth D. Henry, an educator who has also served as the administrator/executive director of nonprofits; Jack L. MacDonald, who works with historic building renovation and preservation; Scott A. Fitzmaurice, a real estate developer who specializes in historic property preservation; and Mary Jo Coggeshall, who has served the town in various civic capacities.
Marie J. Oliva, president and executive director of the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce; Meredith E. Chase, a community and civic association organizer, and Nora J. Banks, who has experience with international cultural community centers are also included in the membership, the application said.
Mr. Johnson said he expects several other CPA funding requests to be received prior to Tuesday, January 15, the deadline for submission of applications to the Community Preservation Committee.