School district eyes brick school for bus garage

By Daniel Dunkle | Feb 07, 2013

Warren — School officials from Regional School Unit 40 argued Feb. 6 it would save the town money if they could use the former brick school property for a new bus garage, but selectmen reminded them a lawsuit is being waged over that property preventing changes in the near future.

School board member Sandra O'Farrell and Transportation Supervisor George Bridges met with selectmen at the town office.

Bridges said the easiest, most level property for the school bus garage would be the former school site in Warren. He wanted to know if it would be difficult to have the property, which is owned by the town, transferred back to the school district's ownership and if there were any ordinances or restrictions that would prevent the project.

Bridges proposed a two-bay bus garage. The area would be used for fueling and servicing buses.

Chairman Doug Pope said townspeople had voted in a town meeting to tear the building down and to make the next best use of the property recreation fields.

Selectman Edmund LaFlamme raised concerns about access onto Route 90, noting that at times when the driveway, which slants downhill to the busy highway, is icy, it could be more dangerous than other potential locations.

School officials argued that with the state budget crunch and proposed cuts in education funding, this would save money and benefit the town. It costs more to lease the garage space in Waldoboro, they said.

Pope noted that a lawsuit is under way concerning the building. CRC Health Group has proposed locating a methadone clinic in the former school building. The town blocked the proposal with a moratorium and a new large facilities ordinance that prohibits clinics close to homes and certain other establishments.

CRC has filed a federal lawsuit against the town arguing this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects the rights of drug addicts seeking treatment.

Pope said the lawsuit will "get going" July 1. After that, even if the building was potentially available for use as a bus garage property, it would require approval at a town meeting.

News Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com or 594-4401, ext. 122.

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