ConVal School District

Board, town will meet over use of town gym

PETERBOROUGH — In an effort to clarify the agreement between the ConVal School District and the town of Antrim concerning the school district’s use of the town gym, the School Board’s Budget and Property Committee will have two of its members and Antrim Elementary School’s principal meet with Antrim officials.

The Antrim Community Memorial Gym, which was once a freestanding building but is now connected to Antrim Elementary School, is owned by the town. The school district leases the gym and uses it both during school hours for physical education classes and for after-school sports activities. The building is used at other times by the Antrim Recreation Department, which has an office in the gym.

The land on which the gym sits was given to the town of Antrim by Robert Goodell in 1927, with the stipulation that it be for “free public use for recreational and educational purposes.”

In July, the Antrim Recreation Department proposed a set of conditions on the use of the gym, which Budget and Property Committee members felt was too restrictive from ConVal’s perspective. At a Budget and Property Committee meeting on Tuesday, School Board member David Martz, who had reviewed previous agreements between the town and the school district, said the School Board should be able to work with town officials to come up with an alternative proposal.

“My recommendation is that we get someone to sit down with Antrim and work out an agreement,” Martz said.

The district has two distinct leases with the town. The Antrim Elementary School building and the land on which it sits, including playground space behind the school and the small parking lot across from the school entrance, are covered under one lease. The town gym is under a second lease agreement.

The School District owns the land and buildings where Great Brook School is located, including the main parking lot. The town of Antrim owns the Robert L. Shea Athletic Field adjacent to the elementary school.

Martz said lease agreements are supposed to be reviewed annually, but that hasn’t been done. And the school district has never made the $1 a year annual lease payments.

Antrim Town Administrator Galen Stearns, who attended the meeting along with Antrim Select Board member John Robertson and Recreation Committee members Joan Gorga and Tim Smith, said there have not been a lot of issues regarding use of the gym.

“Once in a while, programs have conflicted,” Stearns said. “Overall, we get along pretty good. I’m just trying to get it resolved.”

Stearns and ConVal Facilities Director Tim Grossi both said the floor of the town gym is need of repair. Under the lease agreement the school district has been doing the maintenance work on the gym and paying for utilities.

“Is the floor dangerous? No. At some point it needs to be addressed,” Stearns said. He added that the town would also like to talk about an agreement on the use of Shea Field by the school district.

At the close of the meeting, the Budget and Property Committee appointed Martz, School Board member Rich Cahoon of Antrim and Antrim Elementary School Principal Ann Allwarden to a committee to discuss the issue with Antrim officials.

Stearns said Wednesday that the Select Board will make appointments to the new committee, based on recommendations from the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

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