Jaffrey officials researching St. Patrick School as municipal building again

  • St. Patrick School, Jaffrey Ledger-Transcript file photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/12/2019 6:25:14 PM

Jaffrey town officials are taking a second look at the shuttered St. Patrick School building on Main Street as an option for a new municipal space.

Town Manager Jon Frederick said he went through the property on Thursday with a contractor and is awaiting the results of an assessment which is to determine how feasible it will be for the town to purchase the space.

“I think the first concern is getting an order of magnitude of the cost to get things taken care of,” Frederick said. “It’s a very large facility and could house many different options.”

Selectmen asked Frederick to revisit the concept of purchasing the property to accommodate the town offices and other departments during a board meeting on Dec. 17. 

“I think the assumption is that the building would still be standing,” Frederick said.

It was announced in March 2015 that St. Patrick School – which served as a private Catholic school for more than 60 years – would close at the end of the 2014-15 school year due to financial hardships and a declining student population.

Later that month, voters at Town Meeting tabled a warrant article seeking $172,360 to fund the final design of a new town office building so that St. Patrick School could be researched.

A report in April provided two estimates: $2.8 million to convert the school into a new town offices building or $5.8 million to renovate the space to allow for other partners to rent space in the building. 

Neither estimation included the purchase price of the building. 

The report pointed out a number of deficiencies in the building, including issues with the roof, insulation, floor tiles, wiring, heating system, and more. 

Selectmen decided in June of that year that the school building would be taken off the table, as the building was too large and costly to repair. 

Frederick said there are numerous issues with the current town office building and police station. 

The HVAC system, insulation, roof, and windows all need to be replaced at the town offices, while there are also accessibility issues on the second floor. 

There are repairs needed to the police station tiles, entryway, and locker room space.

“They are elderly buildings,” Frederick said. “With that age, it becomes difficult to deal with.”

Frederick said the 25,000 square-foot building could house many of the town department offices including the town offices, police station, recreation department, and DPW administration, as well as other things like a community center and Head Start program.

“There’s a lot of options because there is so much space,” Frederick said.

In March 2016, Southwestern Community Services brought forth a plan for a $5 million, 24-unit senior housing facility to be built in the parking lot of the school property. 

SCS had zoning and planning board approval for the project but had to pull the plug on the project after the select board voted in June to not pursue a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant application, which represented the final bit of funding needed for the project. 

Frederick said it is his understanding that the parking lot is still subdivided from the portion of the property that the building is on. What the town would do with the parking lot or the Stone House remains to be seen. 

Rumblings of a community center and other projects have been discussed within the town, but no other formal projects have been brought forth. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. 


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