Capital Outlay Group Recommends Selling Hoxie And Coady
By: Diana T. Barth
Bourne Capital Outlay Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend to selectmen that both the Ella F. Hoxie Elementary School and the Kempton F. Coady School buildings be sold. Both former school buildings now stand empty and unused.
The group is further recommending that the buildings be sold as soon as possible, in order to “minimize the town’s carrying costs and maximize the benefit to the town,” capital outlay Chairman Mary Jane Mastrangelo said.
The committee has been working on long-term capital planning for the town. Before making its decision, the committee reviewed the recommendations of Bill Pastuzek of Newton-based Shepherd Associates, who has been working on a Highest and Best Use Study of several town buildings.
The study did not recommend a municipal use for either building, and that, combined with the strain that the high cost of maintaining the empty, unused buildings has placed on the town budget, convinced committee members that selling the structures made the most economic sense.
The Ella F. Hoxie School, which closed in June of last year, was turned over to the town by the Bourne School Committee in November.
At that time, Bourne Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino said that the building’s future was uncertain, but that the plan was to keep it heated.
He said at the time that the wood-framed building was well-maintained during its more than 100 years of service to Bourne’s students, but that it could not withstand consistent cold temperatures.
The Kempton F. Coady School, built in 1908, had served the Bourne School District as both a high school and a junior high school before it was rented to the Waldorf School.
That private school’s lease on the building ended on June 30. The school committee turned that building over to the town as of that date. The town has yet to pay for the cost of maintaining that building over the winter.
In March of last year, a study of municipal buildings performed by the Cecil Group of Boston had suggested that the Coady School might be a suitable home for either the town’s recreation department or a children’s library.
Historical Commission Chairman Donald E. Ellis told the school committee not long after that study was released that the building and the property it stands on would be “perfect” for the town, with its gymnasium and 7.7-acre parcel, one that includes a baseball field. The Coady School, Mr. Ellis said then, is also among those town buildings being added to both the state and federal registers of historic buildings, something he said would make it easier for the town to request Community Preservation Act funds to complete any needed renovations.
Ms. Mastrangelo, speaking at the same meeting as Mr. Ellis, said then that there would be time to determine the best way to utilize the building. She said then that the capital outlay committee would be commissioning a Highest and Best Use Study to look into the potential future of the schools, among other structures. Now that the results of that study are in, and the recommendation to sell has been made, it will be up to the town to make a final determination as to the future of both buildings.
Before such a sale could be approved, Ms. Mastrangelo said, a joint meeting of selectmen and other interested boards, including the planning board, would need to be convened, and public input heard.
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