The Selectmen approved entering formal negotiations with the Youth Center.
ADAMS, Mass. — The town is entering formal lease negotiations with the Youth Center for usage of the Adams Memorial Middle School.
The town is already in negotiations with Ooma Tesoro's, a marinara company, to use the kitchen portion of the former school and the Youth Center is looking to use the first floor with the gym.
The reuse of the building has been in the works for nearly a year since the students were moved into a renovated Hoosac Valley Middle and High School.
In November, both Ooma Tesoro and the Youth Center showed interest and later submitted proposals. After review of Ooma's proposal the town entered formal negotiations in January and on Wednesday, the Board of Selectmen approved entering negotiations with the Youth Center.
According to Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, the "short-term" leases are just one piece of a major overhaul of the building. The school building needs capital repairs and Butler says these reuse options open the door for possible state grants for the upgrades. Butler is asking the town to approve setting aside $50,000 in the budget to get the improvements "shovel ready" and eligible to apply for MassDevelopment grant funds.
"That money isn't going to put a new roof on the building, it isn't going to redo the heating system, it isn't going to be used for any capital investment," Butler said.
The budget will be used internally for consultants, architects and engineers to turn what has begun as a public, private and nonprofit partnership into a formal reuse plan. That plan will flesh out all of the details of those capital repairs that will be needed to give the project the best shot at securing actual construction money from the state.
"We believe we have a plan that is creative enough where we're going to be able to bring in funding to help us get this building more operational and get some reuse in there. In the instance that we do fall short of our goal or this doesn't work out, we'll simply be where we are today with a building that has no clear direction," Butler said.
In other business, the Selectmen have chosen a five-member search committee charged with finding candidates to replace retiring. Chief Donald Poirot. The committee will be charged with narrowing down a pool of candidates to just a few for the selectmen to interview.
Committee members are Butler, McCann Technical School Superintendent James Brosnan, Virginia Hill of Specialty Minerals, resident David Allen and former North Adams Detective Robert Canales.
The Selectmen had previously expressed hoped to have representatives from major businesses and schools, and a former police officer, on the committee.
"The candidates we do have meet all of the criteria that the board expressed for the makeup of that committee," Board of Selectmen Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington said.
The Selectmen are expected to name an interim police chief in April until the new one is chosen.