Casco Memorial School demolition plan on ice

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO – The proposed demolition of the Casco Memorial School now faces a roadblock.

The money in the budget will not cover the cost of demolishing the school and getting rid of the leftover debris. Bids last month all proved to be too high — leaving the Casco Board of Selectmen to reject those bids.

The other option would have been to ask the town’s residents to add money to the budget. But, for now, board members said they would prefer to find a solution that is within the budgetary constraints.

Once again, inclement weather is on the horizon and the building is still standing.

Three years ago, as the winter months approached, the board, which was comprised of different individuals than it is now, was discussing how to protect the roof of the school until it decided on a future use of the building.

Selectman Tracy Kimball coated with humor any frustration over the lengthy process of this project.

“Let’s put it on the next agenda and every agenda from here to eternity,” she quipped.

On Tuesday, Town Manager Dave Morton provided a list of options and different price ranges for getting rid of the building. Some of those plans included salvaging items worth value like the brick masonry — an idea proposed by Selectman Ray Grant during previous meetings.

Morton said that the Casco Fire Department offered to come to the rescue, lowering the cost of demolition by using the structure for fire training. However, the town would still face the prospect of getting rid of the burned debris, he said.

“The Casco Fire Department has asked about complete fire burn training of the building. That would be a valuable training tool,” Morton said.

According to Morton, members of a subcommittee have done another walk-through of the building.

However, town officials have not yet contacted the contractors involved in the original bidding process.

“We are hoping to meet with the three local contractors who bid for job. That has not happened yet,” Morton said.

The cost estimates ranged according to what plan of action the board decides to take.

According to Morton, It would cost between $23,000 and $30,000 to remove debris by burning those materials that are flammable and nontoxic.

It would cost between $25,000 and $35,000 to prepare the structure for winter, and that includes roof repair.

A less expensive alternative is to bury the debris on the property; and that would cost between $10,000 and $15,000, Morton said.

“But, we haven’t proceeded with environmental permits for burying the debris,” he said.

“If we were to save the brick building for storage, there would be a cost, but that doesn’t include removal of the rest of the building,” he said.

During the regular meeting, Casco resident Peg Dilley expressed her concern about any contamination from burying the debris onsite. She suggested that if burying the debris was the better option, transporting it to Tenney Hill Road’s former waste oil site might work. After all, the soil there is already contaminated, she said.

Selectman Kimball asked about the details of burying the debris for the cost of $10,000 to $15,000.

Morton said that the boiler in the basement would be removed as well as the windows, and workers would have to peel the asphalt from the roof.

“Based on what we have for a budget, that would be most reasonable option,” Kimball said.

Selectman Grant Plummer, who volunteered to sit on the subcommittee to explore the final fate of the school, spoke.

“My recommendation is that last idea of burning. If we do burn, I would advise removing what is left,” he said, adding that the town should “stay inside of our $35,000 budget.”

“We do not have a true purpose for that building,” he said.

He said that asking for more money at Special Town Meeting is not a wise move.

“I think that is a real tough pill for the taxpayers to swallow,” Plummer said.

The topic of the Memorial School will be on the Dec. 3 agenda.

 

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