Lewiston councilors approve Multi-Purpose space swap, moves seniors to Armory

LEWISTON — Senior programs will move to the Lewiston Memorial Armory on Central Avenue, councilors agreed Tuesday.

Councilors voted 5-0 to allow the Longley School to take over space at the Multi-Purpose Center at their regular meeting Tuesday night. City Administrator Ed Barrett said staff would begin preparing for the move right away.

"Now that we have this decision, we can begin moving forward," Barrett said. "I know staff will be talking to the individuals who use the facility to begin finalizing the design."

Plans call for having the Lewiston's senior program settled in the Armory and the Longley School expansion wrapped up by the start of the 2012-13 school year next fall.

Tuesday's decision came with no council discussion and no debate for residents.

School officials in September said that expected growth in the number of elementary school students citywide calls for some expansion. They've recommended taking over the entire Birch Street Multi-Purpose Center building as a new, bigger Longley School. 

The Longley School and the Multi-Purpose Center have shared the building since the 1970s. Multi-Purpose Center programs include adult education classes and meeting space for the city's senior citizen groups.

School officials say the school system is facing a growth spurt, adding 100 students per year for the foreseeable future. The school will need at least four new classrooms by the start of school 2012.

The School Department plans to build an early childhood center at Longley by next fall. It would house all of the city's prekindergarten students, freeing up classroom space at city's four other elementary schools.

At the Armory, plans would call for adding 60 parking spaces around the Armory to make room for the seniors. 

Vale Street would change to one-way between Central Avenue to Sabattus Street and angle-in parking would be built there, along the building's southern side.

More parking would built along Central Avenue in front of the building and the grass and concrete arcade in front would be converted to parking for seniors.

The city would also add an elevator for seniors, a senior entrance on the Vale Street side and soundproofing for the rooms.

All told, the work at the Armory is expected to cost the city $380,000.

Barrett said he'd like to begin working inside the Armory as soon as possible.

"I think we'll be shooting to get the interior work done this winter," Barrett said. "Of course, we can't finish the elevator and exterior work until it warms up."

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

RAYMOND FRECHETTE's picture

Most disturbing here is the

Most disturbing here is the fact that this decision was arrived at with no council discussion and no time allocated for citizen debate (input). How can a decision on this be arrived at with all the work created by this decision without discussion? Have there been non-public discussions held? This is not the proper way to take care of the people's business. The council should be held acccountable for this.

 's picture

Discussion & Public Input

Ray - This subject was discussed at a prior Council meeting and a prior workshop. At both the prior meeting and workshop and the meeting Tuesday night, there was the opportunity for both discussion and citizen input. The Council did discuss and ask good questions during the prior workshop and there was plenty opportunity for citizen input including last night.

Edward Barrett's picture

Voting at the MPC

The City will continue to use the Multi-Purpose Center for voting in the future. This was part of the discussions between the City and the School Department regarding the transfer of the facility to the schools.

 's picture

PreK

Will be interesting to see how many pre-K students do not go to pre-K in its new location. I know mine will not. Although I understand the bigger picture in needing to free up space in our very crowded elementary schools, I am saddened that this choice was made for our little, pre-K students...

 's picture

I agree

Agree with you 100%. I'm glad my youngest will be through Pre-K this year.

The building and location are not suitable for education/safety.

Jason Theriault's picture

Same plan as Auburn Ward 2?

Auburn Ward 2 votes at the Auburn Middle School. I assume they just make due somehow.

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