Comment sought on Brewer schools reuse

Posted Jan. 13, 2011, at 11:43 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:17 a.m.

BREWER, Maine — When the new pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade Brewer Community School opens in the fall, it will leave vacant three aging elementary schools and Brewer Middle School, all of which were built more than 50 years ago.

City leaders created an ad hoc committee in 2010 to look into redevelopment options for the four buildings and the group is now looking for public comment. It will hold two meetings next week.

The new school on Parkway South will replace Capri Street School, State Street School, Washington Street School and Brewer Middle School, which were built between 1926 and 1962.

At the first meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, the redevelopment of Washington Street and Capri Street schools will be discussed. The meeting will take place at Washington Street School.

The second meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, with the future of Brewer Middle School and State Street School on the agenda. That meeting will take place at the middle school.

“Both sessions are open to the public, and residents are encouraged to attend,” Tanya Pereira, Brewer’s deputy director of economic development, said in a press release.

The school department plans to keep the gym section of Brewer Middle School. It will be used for administrative office space and to house the Alpha Classroom, formerly the Alternative Choices for Teens program, which now is leasing space, Superintendent Daniel Lee said Thursday.

“We’re going to put all of the central offices there,” he said. “Right now, we’re spread throughout the city.”

A cafeteria, kitchen and music classroom now in the gym building will have to be converted into office space, so Lee and his staff will stay at Capri Street School until probably November or December, he said.

Washington Street School, State Street School and Brewer Middle School will be turned over to the city once they are vacated sometime this summer, Lee said.

When the decision was made to build the new elementary-middle school years ago, Brewer Housing Authority personnel expressed interest in acquiring one of the buildings to create affordable housing for senior citizens.

Capri Street School sits on 6.88 acres, Washington Street School has 8.18 acres, State Street School has 5.49 acres and Brewer Middle School has 5.49 acres.

The Washington Street School site is encumbered under a federal land and conservation fund project agreement, limiting it to educational and recreational uses, Councilor Arthur “Archie” Verow has said.

After the ad hoc committee, which consists of residents and city officials, has heard from the public, it will make recommendations to the City Council about how to reuse the former schools.

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