ADAMS -- A window to what Adams Memorial Middle School's short-term future could look like opened Thursday during a site tour, hosted by officials who seek proposals to put space inside the 23,000-square-foot building back to use.
The tour attracted a Windsor business owner and a representative of the town Youth Center, who both expressed interest in leasing different sections of the 30 Columbia St. space.
Michael Tesoro, of Windsor, founder of Ooma Tesoro's, an up-and-coming jarred marinara sauce business, thought Memorial School's downstairs kitchen and cafeteria space could serve as a future production spot.
"We're growing fast and we need to figure out how to continue to meet that need," Tesoro said. "This is one of the few buildings we're looking at."
Tesoro said Ooma Tesoro's sauce sells in 210 stores throughout New England and has just opened up a potential market in New York City. The sauce is Tesoro's grandmother's family recipe, using all-natural ingredients.
"It's unlike any jarred sauce," Tesoro said. "Just like homemade."
Edmund St. John IV, vice president of Adams Youth Center, focused on the building's upstairs. The Youth Center faces a need to relocate, as the town seeks to unload the East Street building that currently houses the organization.
"I've been spearheading the relocation effort," St. John said.
Given Memorial School's square footage, attractive gym, downtown location
Town officials issued a request for proposals (RFP) on Memorial School on Oct. 17. The document made available two areas, section A and section B. Lease area A comprises the gym and locker rooms, auditorium, administrative offices and shop area; lease area B contains the cafeteria and kitchen.
Repurposing the old building will not be an easy task, in the face of the commonwealth's strict building codes and the need for major capital investment into the space, Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said. But officials believe it could be a crucial win for the town.
Thursday's turnout speaks to Butler's previously stated aims for the building, which included a "great reuse ... with some community element" for area A and a "solid business" for area B.
Butler said Thursday's tour sought to find "temporary reuses with an eye toward the long-term."
"Any possible concept interested parties may have, the town can entertain," Butler said. Long-term use, Butler said, would require "major capital investment," as many areas have fallen into disrepair -- most notably the boiler system and the roof. The town would like to see the building refurbished to a level that would see it prosper for "the next half century."
Tesoro's business has been featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine and the Boston Globe. Ooma Tesoro sauce is sold in Whole Foods Markets, Dean & DeLuca retail stores and locally at Wild Oats Market in Williamstown and elsewhere.
To reach Phil Demers, email email@example.com.