SANGERVILLE, Maine — Selectmen have postponed action on the fate of the former Abbie Fowler Elementary School for another year.
Since the school closed and the town took ownership of the building in 2001, the town has leased space to local organizations, with the largest amount of space used by the nonprofit Friends of Community Fitness.
While that arrangement has worked well, maintaining the building has cost the town more than it has received in rent. In addition, it needs weatherization work to improve energy efficiency.
The town is funding the operation of the former school with several thousand dollars, according to Lance Burgess, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. While he said Tuesday there never has been a “peep” from residents about paying the extra cost, taxpayers should decide what they want to do with the building in the long term.
The town budgeted $35,000 for maintenance of the building, but spent $36,000 last year, according to Town Manager Joe Clark.
A committee appointed by selectmen that studied the town’s options regarding the building recommended three possibilities: demolish the building for green space, sell it outright or continue using it under town ownership.
At an emergency meeting held last week with several members of Friends of Community Fitness, whose organization is interested in purchasing the building, selectmen agreed that much more information is needed before action is taken on the matter, including appraisals from three real estate firms.
In the meantime, the town will continue to make building improvements, according to Clark. He said about $30,000 has been included in the proposed budget to install an on-demand water heater, do some roof repair, weatherization and general maintenance.