May 26, 2018
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Brewer to hold last school reuse meeting Tuesday

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff


BREWER, Maine — An ad hoc committee has been collecting public input for the last several months about what should be done with the four schools that will be vacated at the end of the school year, and the committee’s last public meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

“We’re going to go over the suggestions we’ve received” and will come up with a list of “what the committee thinks are the most desirable,” City Councilor Arthur “Archie” Verow, who chairs the ad hoc panel, said Monday.

The committee has been tasked with evaluating the properties, talking to residents about what they want to do with them and considering proposals for redevelopment, he said.

The new pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade Brewer Community School on Parkway South is scheduled to open in the fall and will replace Capri Street School, State Street School, Washington Street School and Brewer Middle School, all of which were built between 1925 and 1962.

Once the schools are empty, they will be turned over to the city. City councilors have asked that the ad hoc committee present its findings at the May council meeting.

“The council is concerned about not having the buildings sitting around idle and vacant,” Verow said. “What we’re going to do is give some general recommendations to the council, nothing specific.”

Capri Street School sits on 6.88 acres, Washington Street School on 8.18 acres, State Street School on 4.6 acres and Brewer Middle School on 0.88 acres.

The school department plans to keep the gym section of Brewer Middle School so it can be used for administrative office space and to house the Alpha Classroom, formerly the alternative Choices for Teens program. Capri Street School, which is home to the superintendent and business office, will remain in the school department’s hands until late this year to allow their new space to be renovated before they move, Verow said.

The Washington Street School site can be used only for educational and recreational purposes because it was purchased with federal land and conservation fund project funding, which limits its future uses, he said.

Verow told fellow councilors at their April meeting that the city received seven letters of interest for redeveloping the four school sites. One of the letters was from an alternative school interested in leasing or renting Capri Street School or State Street School, and the others were from commercial developers interested primarily in refurbishing State Street School or Brewer Middle School, Verow said.

The City Council has the final say over what is done with the soon-to-be-empty buildings.

“The council is anxious for the committee to issue a report” so work on redeveloping the properties can begin, Verow said.

All of the future projects will be handled through the city’s economic development office, he said.

Tuesday’s meeting will be open to the public.

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