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Selectmen Form Middle School East Study Committee

Selectmen acted this month to form a 13-member committee that will study the potential uses for the Middle School East building on Main St., with its recommendations due by the time the School Committee deems the building as "surplus" once the new Woodland Elementary School opens in a few years. Formal appointments by selectmen to the study committee are expected to be made by the end of next month.

Chairman Dino DeBartolomeis' suggestion for an 11-member study committee was upped by two more to satisfy suggestions from Selectman Brian Murray and Selectman William Buckley. Murray wanted two Town Meeting Members added and Buckley wanted Citizens for Milford co-chair Steve Trettel added. DeBartolomeis' compromise was to appoint Trettel – who is a Town Meeting Member – and one additional precinct representative.

DeBartolomeis said the committee's objective is to review and analyze potential uses for the building that should include – but not be limited to – a sale or rental/lease of the building to either a public or private profit-making business or a non-profit organization; mixed use of the building; an office complex; elderly housing; and, use of the building by the town for office space. He also said the study committee needs to look at issues such as traffic and parking; revitalization of Main St.; zoning issues; property tax ramifications; and, the cost by the town for renovating the building to suit any use. "It has to be what's best for the town," the chairman said.

"Even though it's two years away, this will certainly come up fast," DeBartolomeis said. "I think I've put together a pretty good committee here." He continued by saying, "The worst thing will be for that building to be boarded up and closed. This is right on the main thoroughfare."

Tremblay, who attended the selectmen's June 16 meeting, reminded the selectmen that "the building is not yet surplus" and that the members of the School Committee possibly could vote two years from now – after the new Woodland building is constructed – to retain the building for School Department use. He said the study committee should have "a cooperative relationship with the School Department."

"I think the majority of the School Committee is missing a golden opportunity to control its destiny" by turning over the study to a municipal committee rather than doing one itself, Murray said. With only three direct members on the study committee – Tremblay, Morcone and a School Committee member – the odds are against a recommendation for continued use of the building by the School Department, Murray said. "We don't really know what the future will hold," he commented.

Murray said the first step should be to "evaluate the asset" in terms of the condition of the building, and getting Town Meeting to appropriate money for such a study. "If we don't do that, we don't really know what we have," Murray said.

Buckley said that the School Department has at numerous times – including the recent Special Town Meeting that appropriated the $59.9 million for the new Woodland school – has promised that the Middle School East building would be declared a "surplus" assert once the new school is opened. He said Murray's suggestion to study the building's infrastructure is "absolutely dead on. It's frankly, the first thing I'd like to start."

Tremblay said he would bring the selectmen's study committee membership back to the School Committee for its review. Murray asked his board to appoint Michael Walsh of the School Committee to the study committee, but DeBartolomeis and Buckley said that board should designate its own member.

Murray said adding two Town Meeting Members would add "credibility" to the study committee. "I don't know who else is out there who might be interested," he said, calling DeBartolomeis's membership list a "hand-picked committee." "I think the committee will do the right thing. You have some good expertise there," DeBartolomeis said.

Middle School East Study Committee Membership

As approved by the Board of Selectmen on June b16, the membership of the Middle School East Study Committee will be 13 people:

• Town Administrator Richard Villani

• Former Town Administrator

Louis Celozzi

• Selectman William Buckley

• School Superintendent Robert Tremblay

• Community Use Director Leonardo Morcone

• One School Committee member (to be designated by the School Committee)

• One Planning Board member (that board has named Joseph Calagione)

• One Finance Committee member (to be designated by the Finance Committee)

• One Industrial Development Committee member (to be named by the IDC)

• Edward Bertorelli – citizen designee

• William Sanborn – citizen designee

• Steve Trettel – Town Meeting Member/Citizens for Milford


• One additional Town Meeting Member (volunteer sought)


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