WATERVILLE — A building supply business is scheduled to ask the Planning Board to recommend that the City Council rezone the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church property so it can use the office building and parking lots there for its corporate offices.

Ware-Butler Building Supply is one of several entities slated to go before the board at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Elm at 21 College Ave. Those wanting to attend remotely may do so via a link on the city’s website, www.waterville-me.gov.

Other parties scheduled to come before the board include the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, which seeks to turn a former office building at 8 Highwood St. into a family shelter and apartments, as well as offices for social service providers; Waterville Public Schools, which is requesting preliminary and final approval for a 32,700-squre-foot addition to Waterville Junior High School at 100 West River Road that is expected to cost more than $10 million; and Dennis Brockway, who’s seeking review of proposed revisions to a previously approved site plan for self-storage units at 112 Webb Road.

The Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter is set to present a preliminary plan Tuesday for the family shelter and apartment project and request rezoning from Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A to Commercial-C1 to allow for the plans.

Ware-Butler, which purchased the former Sacred Heart property March 23 from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, is seeking to rezone 5 Middle St. and part of 72 Pleasant St. from Residential-B to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A. The Planning Board does not have the authority to rezone properties, which only the City Council may do, but it may recommend to the council whether to rezone.

The council last month voted to refer the rezoning request to the Planning Board for recommendation back to the council.


The vacant church property formerly housed a soup kitchen in the basement that was not affiliated with the church itself.

The property was the subject of controversy last year. Jennifer Bergeron, a partner in the business BACAS, wanted to buy it from the diocese and turn it into an events center, but she pulled the proposal in August after receiving pushback from neighbors.

Scott Wellman, Ware-Butler’s chief financial officer, said last month that the location is perfect for Ware-Butler because it is next to the first Ware-Butler location at 14 North St. If the office building site were rezoned, Ware-Butler officials would look to find the best uses for the church and rectory buildings, Wellman said.

Regarding the junior high school addition, to be called the Albert S. Hall School after the current school, Jeff Allen of A.E. Hodsdon Engineers told the board Feb. 23 that the addition would be built to the east end of the gymnasium and would house fourth and fifth graders, adding some 280 students plus staff to the existing West River Road campus.

Fourth and fifth grade students now attend the Albert S. Hall School on Pleasant Street, which does not meet the protocols for social distancing requirements as the classrooms are too small, according to Waterville Public Schools Superintendent Eric Haley. Haley said Monday that plans for reusing the current Hall School are not yet set in concrete.

The addition of more than 100 trips per day to the junior high as a result of the addition requires a new lane on West River Road to allow traffic to bypass vehicles turning left into the school, according to officials. A proposed new driveway also would provide two additional lanes for vehicles leaving the school. Haley said traffic will be one-way, both in and out of the school.

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