By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
In recent weeks, the Allen Avenue School has been eyed as a possible location for health-related town offices.
But before that can happen, a substantial amount of work is needed to bring the building up to code.
At the Feb. 22 Town Council meeting, Town Manager Michael Borg explained that an architectural report showed the building has a fire alarm system, but no sprinklers. In addition, there is asbestos in the floor tiles, and evidence of it in the window and roof caulking. He said the report showed that the mechanical systems in the building are dated, and there is no Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system.
“It looks to be a very pricey tag for that building,” said Borg.
An initial proposal was to relocate departments related to health and human services to the school. This includes the Veterans Agent, Council on Aging, and Board of Health, among others. Doing so would alleviate space issues at Town Hall and allow these departments the option to expand. Borg said there have been discussions on the school becoming a new polling location and moving Lenore’s Pantry there.
“Number 1 was the Council on Aging,” said Borg. “I’d like to get them into a one-floor building with space to do activities.”
The school was closed in 2015 due to budget cuts, and the students reassigned to other schools. Among some of the uses for the building since then is as a site for the Richards Memorial Library book sale.
Borg said he was not surprised that so much work is needed. In his previous role working for the City of Providence, he dealt with a similar situation when a school’s sprinkler system needed to be replaced. The next steps will be to explore options to cover the costs, which could include partnering with an outside organization, and then return to Town Council to further discuss the matter.
“We’ll sit down and understand this and work with the architect to figure out the actual costs,” said Borg. “We’ll figure out how we can do this.”