Cost of selling former Falmouth schools goes up

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FALMOUTH — The sale of former public school properties on Lunt Road took longer than expected and incurred additional expenses, leading the Town Council to approve money to pay for the cost overruns.

Closing the $3.25 million sale of the Plummer-Motz and Lunt schools property to the OceanView retirement home on Feb. 27 took a few more months than expected, requiring $25,000 in additional heating expenses, according to a supplemental appropriation request.

The removal of modular classrooms on the properties also cost more than expected, bringing the total added costs to $92,000, or double the town’s original budget of $46,000.

At a May 29 meeting the council approved $30,000 to cover part of the $46,000 cost overrun. The remainder will be covered by contingency funds, Town Manager Nathan Poore said.

The town originally thought it could sell the portables for a profit, but after shopping them around for about a year, no buyer could be found, Poore said.

“We were hoping to get some value out of them,” he told the council. “The best we could get is to have them removed and to pay for some of the cost of removal. … Had we not found this one company (to remove the portables), I wouldn’t dare to guess how much it would have been.”

The cost to remove the portables with the help of the removal company was $12,000. 

Additionally, plumbing and electrical work was needed, along with other seasonal expenses totaling $9,000, according the appropriation.

OceanView, meanwhile, is moving forward with construction of a 36-unit senior apartment complex called Blueberry Commons. The project is expected to be complete by April 2014, manager Chris Wasileski said.

“We’re really moving forward quickly on Bluebery Commons,” Wasileski said. “It’s the first project that we are developing as part of the school property expansion.”

OceanView also plans a 24-unit Alzheimer’s and dementia clinic, called Legacy Memory Care, which will be attached to the former Lunt School. Construction of that project is expected to begin in July, Wasileski said.

The Lunt School will also be converted into medical office space starting late summer and should take about six months, he said.

Plans for the former Plummer-Motz School are still being developed.

Falmouth Memorial Library trustees had initially entertained the idea of moving into the building, but in April unanimously rejected the plan as too expensive. They now plan to expand their current location.

The town’s community programs now use the building for programming space, but Wasileski said OceanView may plan to develop the property into senior apartments or partner with the town to create a community center.

The sale included 16 acres, with a provision allowing the town to retain four acres, including use of the Mason Gym attached to the Plummer-Motz School. But under the agreement, if the town doesn’t make use of the Mason property within five years, the property could be optioned back to OceanView.

In the future, Wasileski said, the gym could be used in a public-private partnership as an auditorium to host events, such as lectures and performances.

Poore said discussion about what to do with the Motz wing and Mason Gym was waiting on the library decision and will now likely begin when the council holds its annual work-planning session in late July.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.