May 22, 2018
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Bridgewater residents vote to demolish school

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

BRIDGEWATER, Maine — Townspeople decided during a meeting Wednesday evening to demolish the more than 60-year-old Bridgewater Grammar School and haul the remnants away.

“We had 35 people there, and only one person was opposed to the demolition,” Town Manager Amanda Dow said Thursday.

The school was constructed in the mid-1940s. Residents voted to close the school in November 2008 as a cost savings measure, and the school was turned over to the town in July 2009. After the school closed, elementary students attended school in nearby Mars Hill, using a tuition arrangement that has been in place for high school students from Bridgewater for decades.

There were approximately 30 pupils at the school when it closed.

After voters decided to close the school, they took a hard look at the building and sought to decide its future. The town currently has all of the government and public safety building facilities it needs, and the aged school is not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. A building and planning committee established by the town also determined that the school was poorly laid out and would be hard to renovate.

The town chose to make the decision this week because of the escalating cost of heating the building each winter.

On Wednesday evening, voters weighed leaving the building standing or demolishing it. If they opted to demolish it and bury the building, they would have had to pay $9,800. Voters chose another option, which involves demolishing it, hauling the pieces away and filling the remaining hole with gravel. It comes with a $32,670 price tag.

The town may consider constructing a building there in the future.

Dow said that the Board of Selectmen will award the contract to tear down the school to a contractor on Oct. 13. It will be the contractor’s decision on when to tear down the building, Dow said Thursday.

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