ANSON — Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday night to form a committee to determine the fate of the Town Office, while taking into consideration the possibility of a local school closing that could be used to house a new town office.
The current Town Office building, which is nearly 100 years old, has been plagued by odor problems generated by mold, sewer leaks and a rodent infestation that have forced town officials to relocate to a temporary site across the street since July.
Residents at the Town Meeting on March 1 rejected a $35,000 request for repairs and maintenance to the Town Office and opted instead to have selectmen develop an alternative plan to bring before townspeople within the next six months.
Since then, the town has been informed by North Anson-based School Administrative District 74 that the district is considering renovations to Carrabec High School that would include moving seventh- and eighth-graders into the building, vacating room at the middle school for elementary students, said Anson Administrative Assistant Bob Worthley on Tuesday.
A combination of the estimated $2 million remodeling plan and a decline in student enrollment in the district means that the current Garret Schenck Elementary School would close and could affect a decision on the Town Office, said Worthley. SAD 74 superintendent Ken Coville could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
“It’s certainly a key element in what we choose to do. We don’t want to build a new town office only to have a vacant school dumped on our laps,” Worthley said. In the event that the elementary school should close, the building would become town property and could be used to house a future town office, he said.
Selectmen decided to hold an initial meeting to gauge interest in a town office committee, but a date was not set Tuesday. Instead, selectmen will confer with the district on the date and time for the meeting.
“I think if the Garrett Schenck School is going to be given to the town in a few years it makes a big difference,” said Arnold Luce, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
If the remodeling is undertaken at the high school, it could be completed by the fall of 2015, said Worthley.
The Town Office building has always been town-owned property and in the past has served as a fire station and ambulance bay, said Mitchell Quinn, president of the Anson Historical Society. It’s exact age is not known, but it is close to a century old, he said.
It is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368 firstname.lastname@example.org