Regan Nickels, superintendent of Regional School Unit 22, said she would ask the district's board to vote on transferring ownership of the former Newburgh Elementary School building from the regional school district to the town. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

The Hampden-area school board will decide this fall whether it wants to sell the former Newburgh Elementary School building to the town of Newburgh.

The school has been closed for years, but the building at 2220 Western Ave. is currently the location of the Newburgh town office as well as a prekindergarten program for Hampden-based Regional School Unit 22.

RSU 22 Superintendent Regan Nickels said Wednesday that she would approach the district’s board next month for a vote on transferring ownership of the Newburgh school building to the town. That vote would require a two-thirds majority to pass. 

A second vote at a subsequent meeting would be required to call a town referendum election in which Newburgh residents would vote on whether to transfer ownership of the school building and property to the town, Nickels said.  

The potential transfer to the town is the result of a 2015 lease agreement between RSU 22 and Newburgh. That agreement allowed the district to sell its building to the town for $1 after it paid off an outstanding bond on the building, Nickels said during a Wednesday night RSU 22 board meeting.

That bond is expected to be paid off in January, Nickels said, after which the town would have the option to buy the property if residents and the board sign off on it. 

If the referendum passes, the school district would then enter into a new lease agreement with the town for a price of $1 per year for at least three years, with successive one-year terms after that.   

The prekindergarten program would continue to be located in the building, but the town of Newburgh, rather than the school district, would take over management and upkeep of the facility, Nickels said.

The referendum would only apply to Newburgh residents.

“If we were sending Hampden, Winterport or Frankfort students to [the] Newburgh school, then it would be a different story,” Nickels said. 

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.