In October 2019, Monmouth voters approved a plan to sell Henry L. Cottrell Elementary School. Now, the town is under contract to sell the facility to a nonprofit organization that provides mental health and educational services. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

MONMOUTH — Town officials say Becket, a nonprofit that provides mental health and educational services, is under contract to purchase the Henry L. Cottrell School for $550,000.

Town Manager Linda Cohen said officials from the New Hampshire-based nonprofit are performing final inspections on the property and the sale could be closed by the end of March.

According to Becket’s website, the nonprofit organization provides youth and adults with services including therapy, case management, mentoring, home-based treatment and residential care.

Cohen said the town listed the former elementary school for sale Oct. 8, 2020. She said “a couple different buyers” looked at the property, but only one, Becket, put in an offer. The property went under contract Jan. 5.

Cohen said the school was built in 1950 and had additions built in 1952, 1956, 1971 and 1999. It was last used by students in March 2020, before the pandemic.

In November 2019, voters authorized the Board of Selectmen to sell the Cottrell school to a developer. Elementary and middle school students moved to the new Monmouth Memorial School for the 2020-21 school year.

The fate of the old Monmouth Middle School, built in 1856, is also up in the air, but town officials believe the money from the sale of the Cottrell school could aid in any projects. C. Douglas Ludewig, chairperson of the Monmouth Board of Selectmen, said the town’s School Reuse Committee is looking into solutions for that property and is the subject of a Thursday public hearing hosted by the committee.

Board of Selectmen member Mike Minkowsky said the sale of the Cottrell school gets the property back on the tax rolls, making it a “win for the town.” He said portions of the former Monmouth Middle School may be torn down using some of the money from the sale of the Cottrell, with some historic portions being saved.

“We will have some capital from the sale of the Cottrell school, so it will be cost-neutral,” Minkowsky said.

Officials from Becket were not available for comment after multiple attempts.

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