Adams Dissolves Memorial Building Subcommittee; Renovations Near Completion
ADAMS, Mass. — As renovations to the former Memorial School Building wrap up, the Board of Selectmen has decided to dissolve the subcommittee that worked toward reuse of the former middle school.
"So over the many years after the board appointed this subcommittee, I believe it is time to put an end to this subcommittee," said Selectmen Chairman John Duval.
The board voted to dissolve the subcommittee on Wednesday as the building moves toward a tentative re-opening for public use in the spring. Eight years after its formation, Duval said the subcommittee has finally completed the goal it set out to achieve.
Once renovations are complete, the facility will become the center of operations for the Adams Council on Aging and several spaces will be opened for public use. Additionally, the Selectmen chose developer Wayland North late last year to develop parts of the facility into commercial and residential space.
The Public Works and Facilities Subcommittee has taken the responsibility of determining the usage and policy surrounding public use of the building, which was discussed at its meeting on Jan. 13. At that meeting, Town Administrator Jay Green said May is the target for re-opening but the exact time will depend on several factors, including moving and completing other aspects of the facility like bathrooms.
"If we can get more work done first before anybody goes in there, I think, logistically, that's the better solution," he said. "But we're very early in those stages."
The fee structure and other usage guidelines for the building are still to be determined. Green said the gymnasium is nearly ready for use, barring the installation of covers for thermostats and wall fixtures.
"Right now, that is the one primary thing that is keeping us from being able to really allow use of that gymnasium," he said. "They're on order. They're being paid attention to as soon as we can get those in and get those secured. The risk of damage to those and against substantial cost in money, I think is too much."
Green said even when cover installs are complete, he thinks it would be best to not open the facility for public use until the weather is better. He said facilities staff needs time to adjust to maintaining the building, which would be hard when they have other town buildings to manage.
"They haven't been going over to memorial at all during inclement weather because the building is not open to the public," he said. "So if we were to open that building, let's say those cages come in tomorrow and we put those up, I would still not necessarily recommend that we do that."
Additionally, Green said the town has to complete the work necessary to secure parts of the building from public access. He said this is necessary to prevent those using the building from entering the private development spaces.
"We have a developer who is negotiating with the town to develop it," he said. "And we want to make sure that we have the ability to keep anyone who is using the building out of those spaces. So that's ongoing, almost complete."
The auditorium, Green said, is one area of the building that is not currently ready for public use. He said the use of the auditorium is pending an update on its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
"The auditorium does not have HVAC," he said. "It is not air-conditioned, it is not heated because the original heating plant for the building has been decommissioned. So that is a future capital project for the town to come up with a plan to provide the same air conditioning heat that the lobby, gymnasium and Council on Aging function spaces have."
Green said coming up with use guidelines and a schedule for the building will be a significant priority once it is opened for public use again. He said the town needs to work with the COA and others using the building to keep the facility organized and ready for whoever needs to use it.
"If they know the building is going to be used that evening for basketball practice or something, they're going to have to clean their stuff up," he said. "So it'll just require some day-to-day management."
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