WARREN, Maine — Ownership of the former Warren Primary School could once again be in the hands of the local school district.
Representatives of Regional School Unit 40 are scheduled to speak to the Warren Board of Selectmen on Wednesday evening to discuss the possible acquisition of the former school for use as a districtwide bus garage.
Interim Town Manager Glenn Aho said he does not expect the board to respond to the presentation because the property, also called the old brick school, is entangled in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the company that originally wanted to locate a methadone clinic in that building.
At a special town meeting in September, residents overwhelmingly approved spending $60,000 to demolish the former school building.
Demolition was to take place in the past fall.
That demolition, however, was put on hold at the advice of the town’s attorney in response to the lawsuit by CRC Health being put back on the court docket.
Warren had agreed to a settlement with CRC in 2011 but the California-based company asked for the case to be put back on the schedule after months of planning board review on CRC’s newer proposal to establish the methadone clinic at the intersection of Route 1 and Short Street. The Warren Planning Board approved the project last year but neighbors to the proposed clinic filed an appeal before the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. That appeal was dropped when CRC withdrew its application to pursue the lawsuit.
CRC’s lawsuit against the town is tentatively scheduled for trial beginning July 1 in U.S. District Court in Portland.
RSU 40 Superintendent Susan Pratt said Tuesday that the district leases space for a bus garage on Route 1 in Waldoboro for $25,000 a year. The board, however, wants to look at saving money by owning its own bus garage, she said.
“Right now, we want to explore this option,” Pratt said.
If the district was to acquire the 5.5-acre town-owned lot, it would use some of the existing 9,600-square-foot building for storage and then build a two-bay garage for bus maintenance. No cost estimate has been developed at this early stage of planning, she said.
The property was turned over to the town in 2007 after SAD 40 determined it had no further use for the structure. SAD 40 had used the building for several years for administrative offices after the primary school closed.
The building was originally built in 1963 as Warren High School but was used as a primary school when Medomak Valley High School in neighboring Waldoboro opened in 1968.