Turning an abandoned school into a learning asset

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Kearns School

Originally, I was going to address the potential for the Kearns School based on currently available information published in the Town of Granby Kearns School Study Committee Final Report dated May 11, 2017. This was part of my research because the issue has recently been revisited by the BOS to determine the school’s future status. The building poses a number of budgetary challenges whether it is retained for rent or lease, sold with the standing building or as cleared land after demolishing the facility, or letting it remain empty and incurring maintenance and potential repair bills.

The new town manager, John Ward, will be preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the property in the near future. I would hope that the public will be advised of its contents and be given an opportunity to comment on it in a public forum. Marketing it, as the final report indicates, would require significant cost to repair, maintain safety, make it code compliant and provide curb appeal appearance for potential buyers solicited via the RFP.

Since it costs money to sell it or retain it, and either incurs budget burdens on taxpayers, why wasn’t this pursued before the property deteriorated to the point that it is close to a “crisis” mode, particularly with the state budget in shambles.

I view the Kearns School property as an investment in our school system by virtue of a trade school facility. It would bring together the community’s well-experienced business and entrepreneurial senior citizens and high school seniors who are considering their future plans whether it be in business, military, startups, professional or creative careers. There could be an exchange of classes led by mature citizens who could mentor the high school seniors just as grandparents often step in as supplementary supporters. They are not as distracted, uninvolved or simply lacking time to spend with their children as are parents. Simply spending money on your child to reduce guilt and being their friend is not as good as spending time with them, being an inspiring role model and responsible parent. The good news is that young people often have less conflict with non-family instructors simply by being an objective counselor.