The Old School makes building offer

By Dagney C. Ernest | May 10, 2012
Courtesy of: Lincoln Street Center

Rockland — On Thursday, May 10, the three board members of The Old School met with real estate agent Doug Erickson and made a formal offer for the former city school building at 24 Lincoln St. They could do so because the new nonprofit organization has just become a legal entity.

"I drove the papers to Augusta yesterday because I thought things are just moving too quickly to use the mail," said attorney Joe Steinberger, who formed The Old School board days ago with Ron Tesler and Kyle Swan.

The Old School made an offer of $250,000, contingent on financing and subject to inspection. Steinberger said there is a lot of support in the community for the move and his board is not worried about the financing coming together. Three engineers have volunteered to do an inspection of the building on Saturday, May 12.

"I would say we are moving with all deliberate speed, but it's really at break-neck speed," Steinberger said.

That speed is warranted, because when the nonprofit Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Education board announced on April 26 it was dissolving, many of the building's tenants were already searching for new locations.

"We're not a rich organization … for us to succeed, it's essential to not inherit an empty building," said Steinberger.

That is what Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Education started with and the events of this week have brought home to Steinberger and his The Old School board mates and supporters just what a challenge that was.

"They started with an empty building 13 years ago and are leaving with a building full of activities and people. We really have to thank them for bringing this as far as it's come," said Steinberger.

He said his board is very hopeful that its offer will be accepted so it is conceivable The Old School will have the building under contract by the time the previously announced public meeting takes place on-site Tuesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m.

"We hope it will be a celebration," said Steinberger.

The Old School board also hopes the public will attend and help determine the arts and education center's future. Steinberger credits Tesler with being "an extremely observant and thoughtful man" and said he has come up with a couple of questions that will shape the meeting's agenda.

"What do people want? And what are they willing to do? We need to know," Steinberger said.

This story will be updated as needed.

Courier Publications' A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or

Comments (2)
Posted by: Suzette McAvoy | May 14, 2012 12:50

This reader shows a lack of understanding. I believe, except for the possibility of collecting taxes were the building ever to become a commercial entity (a long shot in this economy, with at least one failed effort on record) that the city is not paying for anything. Isn't this correct? I have seen more than one comment that implies that the Center has been costing the city money, but I understanding that the city sold the property for $60,000+ years ago to the non-profit entity and has not paid for anything related to the operating of the Center since then.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | May 12, 2012 08:45

What most people want is something for nothing. I hope Joe suceeds in his plan,but more than that I hope it will free taxpayers of this albatross.

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