The city’s determined to hang on to a former school building on Chippens Hill that’s been around for nearly a century.
The 165 Hill St. structure, empty for the past year, is next door to the Engine 2 firehouse on Hill Street and has been earmarked for future Fire Department use.
But for the time being at least, firefighter don’t need it.
City Councilor Frank Nicastro said the Fire Department can’t handle the property now and doesn’t have any immediate need for it.
“It’s to our benefit to hold onto that property,” Mayor Art Ward said.
Ward said it could perhaps store voting machines that are currently kept in rented space along with other municipal purposes. He said it might prove to be a multi-purpose facility down the road.
The structure has been vacant since the nonprofit CW Resources moved out last spring for new quarters on Broad Street. It had been paying $1 a year to use the building since 1974.
City Councilor Kevin McCauley, who heads the building committee, said the city needs to keep heating the place enough to prevent pipes from freezing or other damage while officials sort out its fate.
Fire Chief Jon Pose said there is a full tank of oil that should be enough to last awhile there.
Ward said that if more money is needed to maintain the building, the Fire Department should ask the Board of Finance for additional money to do it.
The existing building site began its civic life as a one-room school in 1755.
According to state records, the city spent $2,500 in 1914 to open a new rural school called South Chippins School, which apparently had two rooms and was open until 1936.
The building, since remodeled extensively, is owned by the city and was leased it to CW Resources from 1974 until 2008.
One of the two proposed sites for new schools in town is an empty lot on Matthews Street, just a short distance west of the area’s first schoolhouse location.
165 Hill St.
Originally South Chippins School
Original cost - $2,500
Current value - $488,200
School opened – 1920
School closed - 1936
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