Noank School Re-use Committee finalizing Plan

Notes from the Old Noank Jail

Ed Johnson

Part-Time Journalist

Noank School Re-use Committee Finalizing Plan

Recently, the Noank School Re-use Committee (NSRC) has been meeting, obtaining cost estimates and formulating a plan of action for future use of the former school building by the local Groton community. This plan will soon be presented to the Groton Town Council in order to obtain a lease and begin the process of renovation and refurbishment.

The overall vision of the NSRC is for public use of the building and passive use of the grounds during daylight hours. The exterior grounds are considered in reasonable condition with no hazards. The building itself will be approached as a 3-phase section project commencing with the South, followed by Middle and then North.

The South contains 13,000 square feet which includes the auditorium/gymnasium/stage, kitchen, bathrooms, nine separate former classrooms, 2 small offices and storage rooms. Repairs for this area will include exterior and interior painting, brickwork, windows, roof, HVAC and water system upgrades.

Key projects will involve a projected overlay of liquid-spray rubber membrane over the Middle and South roof areas, a split-line heat (and hot water) pump system for individual classroom control, plus upgrades as needed with the electrical system, depending upon type of use.

The South section will be isolated from both Middle and North Sections, which would remain inactive during initial startup. Services will be added to those areas, Middle and then North, along with roof refurbishment, during future expansion. One large classroom area, as example, might be utilized for winter crew training and storage of rowing shells

Usage of the overall facility will also be handled in phases, with primary focus on non-profit community organizations. The South section offers the most flexibility for large meetings and public events, with offices and classrooms that can be immediately utilized for the expansion of local organizations that have outgrown their present shared spaces.

Costs will be staggered while using the phase-in system, with estimated construction totals ranging between $300 to $400K over time. The object of this method, combined with funding programs, is to minimize the financial impact on the local Noank and surrounding community, while at the same time providing valuable facilities for enhancing local community life in Groton.

The local committee members participating in the NSRC should be commended for their dedication and common sense in approaching this project, which has already received strong approval by local citizens. We look forward to approval of the lease by the Groton Town