Demolition, transfer to city recommended for Brewer schools

Posted May 16, 2011, at 7:10 p.m.
Last modified May 16, 2011, at 9:06 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — The official report and recommendations are in, and they call for the demolition of two Brewer public schools and transferring the other two to the city.

A City Council ad hoc committee formed almost two years ago to evaluate and recommend the best possible future use of four Brewer public school properties that will be vacated in September officially finished the report and submitted it to the city clerk’s office Monday.

Washington Street School and Capri Street School have been targeted for demolition, with the sites to be redeveloped into recreational and park areas by the Brewer Parks and Recreation Department. It is further suggested that Brewer should keep open the option of selling a portion of the Capri Street property for no more than two or three single-family house lots on the left side of the current school entrance, leaving the playground and soccer field areas untouched.

The six-member committee recommends that both State Street School and the old section of Brewer Middle School (most of which faces Somerset Street) be turned over to the city and then transferred to the South Brewer Redevelopment Corp., which will solicit proposals for redevelopment.

The four schools no longer will be used once Brewer’s newly constructed Brewer Community School, for prekindergarten through eighth grade students, opens.

“These are simply recommendations. The report will be presented to the City Council on June 7 and the council will formally vote on it June 14,” said City Manager Steve Bost.

Committee members Lucie Estabrook, David Hart, Calvin Bubar, Albert Gibson, David Hanna and Michael Fitzpatrick — working in association with Bost, city planner Linda Johns, economic developer Tanya Pereira, Parks and Recreation director Ken Hanscom, Superintendent of Schools Dan Lee, and Michael Pullen of WBRC Architects and Engineers — also recommend a survey be taken on how best to use the newer or additional section of Brewer Middle School.

School trustees have proposed removing the connection corridor between the old and new sections, renovating areas of the old section for the superintendent’s offices — which will be moved from Capri Street School — moving the ACT program from St. Joseph’s Church to the new middle school section, and working with Hanscom to offer more programs in the gymnasium and other available spaces.

Capri Street School occupies 6.8 acres, Washington Street’s site is 8.18 acres, State Street is 4.6 acres, and the middle school takes up 0.88 acres.

Once the schools are empty, they’ll be turned over to the city and councilors will have final say on what is to be done with them.

The committee held six meetings over the last several months and the public was given the chance to submit suggestions for possible alternate uses of the schools.

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