ADAMS -- The town has received a $600,000 federal grant that will be used to repair the Adams Memorial Middle School building's dilapidated roof, and officials plan to use the windfall to revive negotiations for possible tenants.
The state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development announced the award Monday, which was given through the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Though there is no official timetable for repairs, Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said he was under the impression the state would look to complete the project this year.
"There could be a quick turnaround," Butler said Monday.
With funding for the roof in hand, the town can now rekindle negotiations with potential tenants for the school, which closed in the summer of 2012.
The town shopped for potential tenants in the fall of 2012, but was unable to lease the property because of damage to the roof. Water is coming into the building, making it untenable.
Negotiations for tenants had slowed while the CDBG grant application was pending. The application was formally submitted in August.
Butler said Tuesday that the town was looking for a "community-oriented reuse" of the middle school building, and that both of its current potential tenants meet that criteria.
Ooma Tesoro's, a Windsor-based marinara sauce-making company hopes to use the school's kitchen for production purposes. Adams nonprofit Youth Center Inc., is also in negotiations with the town to use the gymnasium and auditorium.
"We are very excited that the town was able to procure this grant," Edmund St. John IV, vice president of the Youth Center, said Tuesday.
St. John said the Youth Center hopes to use the building as a place for family education, a fitness center and other community activities.
"We're looking to extend the services we already offer to create a building that's accessible to the community," St. John said.
St. John and Butler would not comment on the specifics of the negotiations, but Butler said the town "is on good solid ground" with both potential tenants.
Butler said the grant should pay for repairs to the roof covering the portion of the building to be repurposed -- the auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria, kitchen and administrative offices.
The town will know the exact cost of the repairs after it puts the project out to bid.
"We said from the beginning [we are] not going to be asking for any massive town investment," Butler said.
Despite imminent roof repairs, the town faces other obstacles to leasing the aging building in the long-term.
According to Butler, the heating system will need to be upgraded.
Butler said updating the heating system is less of an immediate need and less expensive than repairing the roof.
The town hopes it can "get through a few seasons" before hopefully switching to a natural gas system. The current boiler runs on heating oil.
Additionally, Butler said, the current system is wasteful because heat can not be directed to specific areas of the building -- if the boiler is running, the whole building is being heated.
Initial estimates suggest that it could cost approximately $200,000 to upgrade the school's heating system. Butler said that, like with the roof, the town hopes to explore outside sources for funding.
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