22 Aug 2014
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Nathan Hale School Now the Responsibility of Town Government

Town officials say they intend to preserve the former Spruce Street elementary school, but that no long term decisions on the future of the building have been reached yet.

Nathan Hale School Now the Responsibility of Town Government

The Elementary School Monday means that care and maintenance of the building will now be shifted to town government, who will now have to shoulder the responsibility of preserving the building for some as yet underdetermined future use. 

Superintendent Richard Kisiel told Patch Wednesday that he believed the next step towards officially closing the former elementary school would be for the town's Board of Directors and the Board of Education to sit down and decide who will be responsible for maintaining the building and to what extent. Kisiel said that there are still some supplies and furniture inside Nathan Hale that will have to be cleaned out. He said he believed that the building would be "winterized," which would entail draining the pipes so the heat could be shut off, and then secured, with a limited security system in place to monitor the building and guard against vandalism. 

But General Manager Scott Shanley told Patch Wednesday afternoon that the town was already making plans to secure and maintain the building. Shanley said that the pipes inside the former school would not be drained, and that the heat would be maintained inside the building during the winter to preserve the piping and walls, although at a considerably lower temperature than would be "comfortable" if the building was occupied. 

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"I think first and foremost, it looks like we're going to have to train our facilities folks in the handling of the heating system, so we can keep the heat on and make sure we keep the building secure," Shanley said. "...So it doesn't deteriorate further, until we decide what as a community we're going to do with the building."

Shanley said he did not yet know how much maintaing the building would cost the town to maintain on a monthly basis. 

The Board ofEducation voted to take Nathan Hale "offline" for the 2012-13 school year after the school system's facilities manager noted that at any moment and would require several million worth of repairs. The former school was built in 1921 and still contains many of its original systems. 

Faced with a strapped budget, school board members decided to declare the school "offline" on Feb. 1, and then decided on Monday to formally deem the school "closed" because it now seems highly unlikely that it will be able to cobble together the funds for those repairs anytime soon. 

request for a number of facility repairs by the Board of Education will appear on the ballot on Election Day, Nov. 6, but does not include any funds for repairs or renovations to Nathan Hale. 
Shanley said town officials wanted to hear the recommendation of the School

Modernization and Reinvestment Team Revisited (SMARTR), a committee made up of members of the Board of Education, Board of Directors and general public that has been appointed to identify long-term repairs and objectives for the school system, before making any decisions on what to do with Nathan Hale. 

Under state law, public school systems are fiscally autonomous from the towns in which they reside; they receive funding from their respective town, as well as state and federal funds, but the Board of Education is the ultimate decision maker as to how and where that funding is spent. 

For the 2012-13 school year, Nathan Hale students will be split between four schools in town, Highland Park, Martin, Keeney and Washington elementary schools. 

Public schools open in Manchester on Tuesday, Sept. 4. 

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