Tasks given to school purchase committee

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PROSPECT — The town has formed a committee to look into the purchase of Community School.

The Community School Purchase Committee was officially created on May 11. The committee, which consists of nine members, was given 10 tasks to complete, including reviewing the status of the oil tanks on the property, figuring out the cost to run the building, reviewing the construction documents from when the building was updated for codes and obtaining a copy of the asbestos abatement report.

“I want to see the document that states school is asbestos free,” Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

The town is considering buying the school at 12 Center St. from Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect. The school will be closed after the summer. Students will attend the new Prospect Elementary School in the fall.

Chatfield said the town has been looking into purchasing that building to keep with its policy of buying property on Center Street.

“It’s been our policy to purchase property on Center Street when it became available over the last 30 years,” Chatfield said. “I would like to see the town have the control of that piece of property.”

There are only a few properties along Center Street the town does not own, including the school, the Prospect Congregational Church, and a residential property listed at 27 New Haven Road. The backyard of the residential property is located along Center Street.

Chatfield said the school can have many town uses.

“It has countless uses for recreation, civil preparation, and it’s a much bigger emergency shelter than what we can do have at the firehouse,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield added he would like to see the school used as a place where civic organizations can hold fundraisers and where bands can play during the town’s summer concert series can go in case of rain.

“I feel very strongly the town has to consider purchasing this building. That’s why it has formed a committee,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield said part of the committee’s work will be to look into the deficiencies of the building so the town has an idea of what it is getting into before making the decision of whether to purchase the school.

“When I went up there in April there were buckets in the cafeteria and hallway because the roof leaking,” Chatfield said.

While there may be deficiencies, the building has a long history in the town.

The school was built in the 1930s and once served as the town’s only school. Chatfield said he and all but four of the members of the committee attended the school while growing up in Prospect.

“It’s a very solid, strong building as the old buildings that were built in the ‘30s tend to be,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield expects the committee’s final report to come back to the town in early autumn.
The sale and purchase of the building will have to go to public hearings and be voted on.