ADAMS -- The town made a significant step toward repurposing Adams Memorial School last week, as two interested parties submitted proposals to lease space in the building before Friday's deadline.
The Youth Center and a Windsor-based marinara sauce company, Ooma Tesoro's, each proposed moving operations into the 23,000-square-foot former school, bargaining for the building's ground floor administrative offices and its downstairs kitchen and cafeteria space, respectively.
If all checks out, Memorial School could have new tenants by the end of the winter, Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said Sunday.
"It's a great opportunity to address some of our town needs while bringing in business and engaging a reuse of [Memorial School] that the community can really benefit from," he said.
Michael Tesoro, founder and chef of Ooma Tesoro's, said Sunday that he's "crossing his fingers," with hopes of reaching an agreement with the town. Ooma Tesoro's is expanding, he said, and requires a new production spot. The company's only production kitchen is in Greenfield.
The Youth Center has for some time sought to move out of the town's property on East Street, which the town wishes to unload in the near future. Edmund St. John IV, vice president, said he thinks Memorial School's gym, auditorium and downtown location make it a suitable setting.
According to Butler, town officials aim to closely review each proposal and hope this leads to further lease negotiations. Here, they'll seek to iron out payment, utility and other details in a way that's agreeable to all parties.
Former tenant Hoosac Valley High School vacated Memorial School early in October, leaving the building once again to town ownership. On Oct. 17, the town released a document requesting two-year proposals on either the ground floor or downstairs space.
Butler said Sunday that town plans for Memorial School, which needs millions of dollars in roof and other repairs, necessarily involves both short and a long term, but he's not opposed to keeping any potential stakeholders on board throughout the longer process.
It's been noted in prior Selectmen's meetings that some form of state or federal assistance will likely be sought to see to the building's more expensive needs.
Until lease details are thoroughly ironed out, the town plans to mothball Memorial School as a cost-saving measure.
"It's going to take some figuring out, but we'll move along as fast as we can," Selectmen's Chair Arthur "Skip" Harrington said Sunday.
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