ABBOT, Maine — In the end, it apparently was the cost that swayed Abbot residents to vote to demolish the aging former Abbot Elementary School.
About 40 residents voted during a special town meeting Monday to allow the Guilford Fire Department to burn the building as a training exercise. The school was closed as part of a consolidation effort by SAD 4 and was deeded to the town in the mid-1990s.
The action taken Monday does not include a separate building on the property that also was used as a classroom. That building houses the Abbot post office, and its operation will continue, according to Abbot Selectman Jan Ronco.
Since the water and sewer connection for the post office is located in the basement of the building to be demolished, residents authorized selectmen to use up to $7,000 to make the necessary changes.
Basically, residents had four options for the building, and the University of Maine analyzed the cost of both renovations and demolition, according to Ronco. They could have voted to renovate the building for a town office or as a rental property at a cost estimated at $211,000. The other options included paying to have the building demolished, taking no action, or having the building burned, she said.
“I think the University of Maine study took a lot of the emotion out” of the proposal to save the building, Ronco said Tuesday. She said the cost to renovate the building was estimated at $200,000.