Recent letters in The Groton Line and elsewhere have resurrected the idea of turning the Prescott School into a Community Center. This is a wonderful idea, except that I very much suspect that it won’t work very well. The problems ultimately come down to money (lots of it), the source of such funding and the will of the people of Groton to come up with the money, whether through a bond and tax increase or some sort of voluntary fund raising. The reason for all that money is, of course, to make the building meet current building codes for safety and handicap access, not to mention any changes to the interior to meet the desired requirements of a Community Center.
A better choice would probably be to share the use (after hours) of one of the current Groton-Dunstable Regional School District buildings. Unfortunately, there are various problems here, relating to security, additional cost of operating the building after hours and an apparent lack of interest on the part of G-DRSD in broad-based use of school buildings by Town groups.
Regarding other uses for Prescott, I am given to understand that G-DRSD is using pretty much the entire building for their administrative offices and records storage. Apparently the law requires that any scrap of paper relating to a student must be saved forever, not to mention the other records (business, etc.) of the school district. I once heard through the grapevine that one of the reasons for G-DRSD moving their offices from Tarbell to Prescott was that they needed more storage space for their records…. This raises the question of whether it is realistic to expect the G-DRSD admin offices to coexist in Prescott with Mr. Yenchenk’s business plans for any length of time.
Moving G-DRSD admin offices to various currently unused classrooms in different schools will work – clumsily – until the school enrollment increases and they need their classroom space again. So, retaining Prescott as the G-DRSD Administrative center makes a certain amount of sense. An alternative approach might be for G-DRSD to build an inexpensive (modern steel buildings are serviceable and energy-efficient) admin building somewhere on their property. Somehow, though, I can see them spending many millions of dollars to build a palace of an admin building (and there’s probably some state or federal law that requires them to do so).
No easy answers for Prescott School – Town Meeting is going to be interesting….