North Yarmouth selectmen want to reuse school as municipal campus

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The Board of Selectmen has made its recommendation for a town center development plan.

Four public meetings will be held to discuss the proposal next month.

Two of the three scenarios proposed by Portland firm Planning Decisions last November involved developing North Yarmouth Memorial School, which was closed and transferred to the town by School Administrative District 51 last year, as a municipal campus. The third proposed having the campus at the current Town Hall.

Of the two school building options, one called for renovating the facility, and the other suggested demolishing it and building something new.

Selectmen voted 4-1 on Feb. 3, with Paul Napolitano opposed, to move forward with the reuse option. The existing Town Hall would be sold for housing or commercial development, and a sewer system would be created to help facilitate new development.

According to a facilities study conducted by Stephen Blatt Architects, that option would be the least expensive of the three, potentially costing $2.67 million.

The cost would include $1.4 million to renovate the former school as a town hall, $650,000 to renovate the gym as a community center, and $70,000 to demolish the rest of the building. About 14,800 square feet at the rear of the existing building would be unused; 12,500 of that could be rented, if it is not demolished.

The town hall and community center would total 24,000 square feet.

The selectmen’s decision is a recommendation to residents, who will ultimately vote on the option.

The public informational meetings will be held in the Town Hall meeting room at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, and Tuesday, March 10. Public hearings will then be held, at the same place on Wednesday, March 18, and Tuesday, March 24, also at 7 p.m.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.