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New Sharon to decide on old school building’s fate

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NEW SHARON – Residents are being encouraged to come to a special town meeting scheduled this weekend to decide whether the town should accept ownership of the old New Sharon School building and relocate municipal offices there.

The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, September 6, at 9 a.m. in the Cape Cod Hill School gymnasium.

Four action articles will appear on the warrant. The first will ask if voters want New Sharon to take control of the building, which until recently served as the MSAD 9 central office. The district administration relocated the offices to Mt. Blue Middle School this year in a cost-saving measure.

The second article will ask voters if they want to relocate the town office to the building. The town currently rents a 25′ by 25′ space for that purpose for $4,000. That rent is expected to increase to $6,000 next year. The old New Sharon School building is nearly 12,000 square feet.

Selectman Maynard Webster noted that the current facility can get extremely cramped, especially during elections when votes need to be collected and counted, or during special events.

“We run out of space,” he said.

Webster said that maintaining the former school as a town office would cost $17,000 annually, balanced against the $6,000 saved in rent. In addition, Head Start, a program which helps prepare children for school, has been renting a room from MSAD 9 for $1,250 a year. That rent payment would instead go to the town.

“Head Start is leasing one room now, and wants to lease another,” Webster said. This would increase the savings from moving the town office to $8,250, applied against the $17,000 maintenance.

A third article will ask voters to approve a one-time expenditure of $7,500, out of the surplus account, to replace external windows and a door. A forth article will ask residents to give the board of selectmen the power to lease the building out and sign agreements on behalf of the town.

“We’re hoping for a large turnout,” Webster said. “We think it’ll be a nice asset to the town, and hopefully they accept it so we can move in soon.”

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