Brunswick acknowledges Longfellow School discussions with Bowdoin College

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BRUNSWICK — Town Manager Gary Brown announced what he called “the second worst-kept secret in Brunswick” Monday night: the town and Bowdoin College are discussing the sale or trade of Longfellow School.

A letter from college Treasurer S. Catherine Longley, included in the Town Council’s information packet, suggests a price of $2 million for the elementary school, which is scheduled to be closed in 2011. The college would make an initial $1 million payment followed by two annual $500,000 payments.

Longley said there is the possibility the building could be remodeled or demolished, subject to normal town approvals. The property should be zoned to allow uses beyond residence halls prior to the transfer, she said, with all asbestos and hazardous materials abated.

A “less attractive” option for the college, Longley said, is a possible no-cost building exchange. Longfellow would be accepted by Bowdoin and in turn, the town would receive the college’s McLellan property at 85 Union St.

If the town chooses the transfer option, it will not take place until 2014 and the college wants use of the third floor at no charge through 2019.

Longley said the town will receive “value in excess of the appraisal of the Longfellow School” and property.

“I anticipate the council will discuss this in great detail next year,” Brown said Monday.

Brown and college officials have been discussing the future of Longfellow for about a year, according to the letter. Any agreement between the town and college must be approved by the college board of trustees as well as the council.

Councilors did not discuss the issue Monday night or schedule a meeting for further discussion. 

Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or sgrinnell@theforecaster.net.

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