ADAMS, Mass. — The Memorial Middle School is being "mothballed" for the winter while town officials decide if they will lease the building to the two organizations that have filed proposals for the reuse.
Town officials hope to cut heating costs by 20 percent with the move while the school is transferred over to the town, the prospective leasers are interviewed and lease negotiations take place. The building has been cleaned by the school after the renovation of Hoosac Valley Middle and High School.
"They've done a great job cleaning it up," Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said on Wednesday. "It's basically in a semi-mothballed state."
Mothballing is a process of protecting vacant buildings from weather and vandalism. Once the temperatures drop even more, the building will be sealed until new tenants reach an agreement. The town is also plotting renovation work in the building. The mothballed state is expected to last until at least February.
"We're working with this item as quick as we can," Butler said.
The Youth Center and a marinara company, Ooma Tessoro's, have both submitted proposals of interest in reusing different sections of the building. Butler, Selectman Michael Ouellette and members of the Department of Community Development will now set up interviews with their representatives to further explore the proposals next week.
"After the interviews are held, I'd like to ask for a recommendation from the Board of Selectmen on whether we should enter a lease negotiation or go in a different direction," Butler said.
The building is still owned by the school but in the next few weeks, the building and the insurance policy will be switched to the town.
In other business, the Selectmen heard from Council on Aging Director Erica Samson that since the department was moved to the Adams Visitors Center, attendance has been up.
After the Berkshire Visitors Bureau left the building, the town performed some renovations to accommodate the Council on Aging moving from its 18 East St. home. The town is looking to relinquish ownership of the East Street building.
Samson said that since September, 108 new people have used services offered by the department. The number of residents using the transportation program has jumped to a point where Butler said he'd like to have the town look into purchasing its own vans rather than leasing. Samson said more than 100 riders a month are being transported to various parts of the county for programs, appointments or recreation. There were 927 trips in October.
Butler also said the budget process will start in the coming weeks with a meeting with all department heads. Butler said he has looked at the early projections and said he does not expect to be any "major challenges."
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