Tiverton Building Study Suggests Selling or Demolishing Vacant Schools, Community Center
The Municipal Buildings Feasibility Advisory Committee should be presenting the report to the Town Council in the near future.
Tiverton should sell off its vacant and older buildings, while considering future consolidation of municipal offices, according to a report issued in late June from the Tiverton Municipal Buildings Feasibility Advisory Committee. The report will soon be presented to the Town Council.
The old Nonquit School, located at 117 Puncateest Neck Road, the old Ranger School, located at 1185 Stafford Road, and the old community center, which is located at 346 Judson Street and currently houses the Planning Department, Wastewater Management and other municipal offices, are recommended to be put up for sale.
Vacant Schools, Loss of Market Value
What was considered fair market value for the two vacant school buildings in 2009 is unrealistic today, the report states, and both buildings are not practical for town use. If the buildings do not sell, demolishing the schools and selling the land is another approach.
In 2009, the School Committee determined the old Ranger School would no longer be used and returned the over one-acre asset to the town. The current Ranger School opened in 2007 near the high school on North Brayton Road. It was appraised at $970,000 in 2009.
At one time it was suggested that renovations to the Ranger School would cost over $3 million, since it is not code compliant. Of nearly 300 public surveys returned to the town, 22 percent said they wanted the building retained for municipal use, while 14 percent said that all municipal services be consolidated to the old school. However, the report states that major renovations would be required to address its electrical, heating, communications and building space.
A recommendation was made last winter by the Town Council and town planner to create a request-for-proposal to sell the six-acre lot of the Nonquit School. It was closed in 2003 due to budgetary constraints and in 2009 the School Committee determined it would no longer be used and returned the property to the town. It was appraised at $850,000 in 2008.
The building’s integrity is in better condition than the old Ranger School, the report states. However, a $2.3 million estimate was tagged onto the Nonquit School to come up to school-code required renovations. Public surveys overwhelmingly indicated the school not be retained by the town.
If any work is to be done there, the report recommends that an archaeological study be conducted there since it sits on an Indian burial ground.
Despite its aesthetic surroundings of Nonquit Pond, the committee determined the building will sell for much less than its assessed value. The RFP should be the first step to market the Nonquit School property and recommended selling the property as residential if alternatives are not presented through the RFP findings, according to the report.
Community Center in Need of Repairs
The community center sits on a 0.67-acre lot and is in sound condition, the report states, but needs a new roof and some exterior repairs. For the size of the location in the north end, the building is “well utilized,” however, its distance from Town Hall, particularly the Planning Department, renders its services antiquated. The committee recommends taking a proactive approach to relocating the offices and dispose of the building, as well as take a closer look at its septic system.
Town Hall, built around 1850 at 346 Highland Road, sits on a 1.75-acre lot, and houses all other municipal offices for Tiverton. It is also a public meeting space and a repository of all the town’s historic government and land evidence records. A number of additions and upgrades have been made over the years, and the report states the building could still be used for some time. However, the way it is currently configured is not optimal, and relocating the Planning Department from its satellite office to be closer to building and zoning, town administration and the land records could trigger some office space reshuffling.
In the long term, the committee’s report states Town Hall will not serve the town’s future needs and expansion options are limited. The recommendation is to dispose of the building eventually and use the proceeds to offset consolidation costs.
The senior center, located at 207 Canonicus Street on roughly 0.70 acres, has a well-maintained exterior. The report states the building could be used by other community organizations to offset the dependence on the space of the nearby community center. The committee recommended retaining the building, but in the long term, consider the idea of disposing it.
The Department of Public Works, located near the police station at 50 Industrial Way, sits on over 7 acres of land. The report states the location and space is well suited for its operation, and states that it would be useful to consider relocating the building and maintenance department workspace there.