OAKLAND — After multiple dead-end efforts to restore a centuries-old schoolhouse on Church Street, the town of Oakland has sold the building to Norman Vigue.

The latest attempt to repair the schoolhouse, in the summer of 2016, was stunted by the discovery of lead paint and asbestos in the building. The Oakland Area Historical Society, which was working with the town on the restoration, also had difficulty securing grants to repair a property that was not going to be used for its original purpose as a school.

The town council approved Vigue’s $55,000 bid at a meeting on Monday morning after listing the property at 97 Church St. for sale in August for $27,000 via Brokewood Realty.

Vigue owns an abutting property, which serves as his residence and an office for his business, Central Maine Hydroseeding. His wife, Renee, and his son, Derrik, run Fine Lines beauty salon and Faded Lines Barber Shop, respectively, out of the 99 Church St. location as well.

Vigue said that he does not yet know what he will do with the building, but does not have plans to take it down.

“I was interested for the parking for my wife and son,” Vigue said.

The schoolhouse property includes a small asphalt lot with room for several cars.

Aside from running his business next door to the former school building, Vigue has ties to the property that extend back several years. In 2013, Vigue entered a five-year contract with the town, whereby he could use the building for storage at no cost in exchange for maintaining its exterior. Vigue had wanted to use the space to store a hydroseeding machine for his business. After he was unable to fit the machine into the building, a busy schedule led him to neglect the property, although he had said that he secured the entries and kept the interior in good shape.

Oakland Town Manager Gary Bowman said that Vigue breached the contract, and a public hearing about the future of the property took place shortly after, in May 2016. Town councilors unanimously voted to terminate the contract with Vigue due to inactivity at the building.

After the historical society was unable to do anything with the property, the town was at a loss. The building is currently gutted and the outside is in disrepair.

“The council just came to grips … that maybe now is the time to sell it,” Bowman said. “It’s always been a hard thing for the town to upkeep because we don’t have the manpower.”

Though the council went into executive session to discuss the bids, Bowman confirmed that the only other offer came from Karla Carey, who also owns property next to the school house. The building was used as a schoolhouse from 1804 to 1924 and later became a firehouse and town storage facility. It is the only old schoolhouse remaining in Oakland.

Meg Robbins — 861-9239

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: