Selectmen to tour vacant Fox school

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PARIS – School officials will lead members of the Paris Selectmen on a tour of the vacant Fox Elementary School today as work continues toward deciding what the building will be used for in the future.

The board will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the two-story, brick building in Market Square. The school, built in 1883, was shut down last February when the new Paris Elementary School opened up. Officials have estimated that it may take as much as $1 million to renovate the building up to current code standards.

In January, Paris selectmen voted unanimously to indicate their interest in the building, but said they did not have a specific use in mind at that point. If the school relinquishes ownership of the building, the town would acquire it at no cost.

School Superintendent Mark Eastman said the school will probably keep a presence of some sort in the building throughout the next winter. “We’ll relocate an office there while we’re in the decision phase,” Eastman told his school board last week.

There had been some discussion about moving the administrative offices from its current location in a leased store front in Oxford Plaza, particularly if SAD 17 merges with SAD 39 under the new consolidation plan. Eastman said the state may be encouraging the merger of central offices with financial assistance, but local school officials are wary of moving too fast until the consolidation issue is resolved.

Meanwhile, school officials have begun disposing of some of the school’s playground and other equipment including two trailers that have been transported to the Otisfield Community School and Oxford Hills Middle School.

Most of the playground equipment is being taken to other schools. The wooden playground equipment has been vandalized over the past several months and will be discarded.

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