Town Meeting voters to decide fate of Gidley School

By Douglas McCulloch | Oct 11, 2016
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch The Gidley School.

Town Meeting voters will be asked to approve the demolition of the former Gidley School on October 18. The elementary school opened in 1922, closed in 2007, and is now site to toxins and structural issues, according to town officials.

The town has been looking for interested parties to purchase the property since 2012, but floor tiles containing asbestos and extensive amounts of lead paint have scared off potential buyers, said Town Administrator David Cressman.

As a result, the town has not been able to sell the property, leading to the decision to take the building down.

“We now find ourselves four years later, and anyone who has looked at it hasn’t expressed an interest in using it,” Cressman said.

Town officials said the property is not only a liability, but costs the town more than $20,000 each year. Also, the site is susceptible to trespassers; police report about 200 service calls over the past five years.

Voters will decide to approve or decline the $785,000 demolition of the building using surplus revenue at Fall Town Meeting. Cressman said the funding will be used for the demolition itself and a number of required remediation projects, including removing hazardous materials from the building and removing the building’s septic system.

Both the Select Board and Finance Committee unanimously support this project.

One potential use for the site post-demolition is as the new police department headquarters. Cressman said that the Tucker Road location has been considered by the department due to its position within the high-call zone.

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