Brewer Working On Plan To Recycle Old Middle School Into Senior Housing Complex
About a year ago, Brewer’s economic development team was tasked to find new uses for four old school buildings in the city. Now, Brewer has plans to do a bit of recycling in a way that will suit the city’s needs. “Our biggest goal from the day that we took over the schools from the school system was to make sure we don’t have some delapidated building that’s an eyesore to the community,” said D’arcy Main-Boyington, Brewer’s Director of Economic Development.The old middle school building is no longer filled with students. Meantime, the Brewer Housing Authority says there’s a need for more low-income senior housing.Housing Authority Executive Director Gordon Stitham said, “We have a waiting list right now of approximately 100-125 names on our 1-bedroom waiting list.”So the housing authority got in touch with the Economic Development office and took a tour of the old building. Stitham had a good feeling the housing authority could convert the school into housing. “The condition of the building is in excellent shape. They just recently put on a brand new roof about 3-4 years ago. Nothing can be done on the outside, the outside is perfect. It’s only inside work, so it’s really a good building to do a rehab,” said Stitham.The plan is to turn the classroom space into 28 different 1-bedroom units for seniors 55 and older, but there’s also plans to reuse some other parts of the building, including the auditorium.Main-Boyington said, “The school has an auditorium with a small stage and even balcony seating and it’s in nice shape, so their plan is to try to keep that auditorium space as an auditorium. They’d be looking for some other groups who might want to come in and put on shows.”The city council voted Tuesday night to sell the former school to the housing authority. Brewer officials are happy to try to put the building, built in 1926, to good use instead of tearing it down.”My preference obviously is replacing it. When you look at the historic sites, it’s even more important because there’s a lot of history there,” said Mayor Jerry Goss.The purchase option gives the housing authority up to a year to buy the building, but allows for an extension. The cost is $15,000 if they buy within the year, or $35,000 if they extend the purchase deadline.The housing authority is applying for low-income tax credits to buy the building. Then they need to pay for about $5 million in renovations. Despite the costs, the housing authority is looking forward to giving this building a new way to serve its community.