Brewer: Old schools envisioned as housing opportunity

Posted Aug. 07, 2008, at 12 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:18 a.m.

BREWER, Maine - Brewer Housing Authority personnel would like to create affordable senior citizen housing in one of the city’s four schools that will be vacant when the new combined elementary-middle school opens in 2010 or 2011.

The authority’ s board of directors last week took its first step toward acquiring one of the school buildings by filing a letter of interest with the city, Gordan Stitham, the agency’ s executive director, said Monday.

“It just said the Brewer Housing Authority would be interested in either Capri School, State Street School or the middle school,” he said.

The new multimillion-dollar pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school on Parkway South will replace Capri Street School, State Street School, Washington Street School, the closed Pendleton Street School and the Brewer Middle School, which were all built more than 50 years ago.

The housing authority is planning to apply for federal grants to provide money to make the sites, if approved by the City Council, into affordable senior housing.

“If we get the grants, we would have the funding to either rehab the middle school or State Street School, [but] Capri School would have to be torn down” and a new facility built, he said.

The Charles Dartnell Apartments, constructed in 1982, were the last senior housing completed by the agency. With an aging population, there “is a big demand in Brewer” for more, Stitham said.

If all goes as planned, construction on the new elementary-middle school is expected to begin this fall and be completed by December 2010.

With years to go before the current school facilities are closed and available for other uses, “it’ s very early in the process,” City Manager Steve Bost said Wednesday.

“The City Council has not been provided the options they will have as yet,” he said. “We hope to do that within the next few months. That will be done in conjunction with the school department.”

Once the school department is done using the buildings, the ownership reverts to the city, which means if they are reused by the city or sold it is in the hands of the City Council, Bost explained.

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