PARIS – The former Fox Elementary School may no longer house classrooms filled with young students, but its century-old hallways, rooms and parking area are still humming with activity.

Superintendent Mark Eastman said the building is being used as home base for several programs including Title One, elementary foreign language and after-school coordinator. And if all goes according to plan, by spring its parking lot may be the site for the South Paris Farmer’s Market every Saturday.

Pending resolution of some municipal questions, Eastman said he expects favorable action by the school board. “I expect all those issues will be addressed, and they will be granted use of the space,” said Eastman of the action the SAD 17 Board of Directors must still take to approve use of the space.

Pat Verrill of West Paris, one of the market’s organizers, said she is set to meet with Paris Building Inspector Claude Rounds shortly to resolve any outstanding issues by the town.

Plans call for the market, to be known as the Fox School Farmers Market, to be held Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays from May 10 through Oct. 25, rain or shine, according to information from Verrill.

Verrill said the parking area is more than adequate for the vendors to set up stalls and for cars to park safely. She said another crucial part of the plan is the available handicap parking spaces and the convenience of the crosswalk just outside of the playground gate that will allow for pedestrian safety for those crossing the street to get to the market.

The Fox School was shut down last February when students from the former Fox Elementary and Madison Avenue schools attended their first day of classes at the new Paris Elementary School on High Street. It marked the first time all kindergarten through sixth-grade students from Paris were educated together under the same roof since SAD 17 was formed about 40 years ago.

A final decision on the reuse of the building is still pending. The town of Paris has expressed some interest in using the facility, but no decisions have been made.

“We don’t stand any place at this time,” Paris Town Manager Sharon Jackson said Friday. Town officials decided earlier in the year to wait until after Jan. 1, 2008 to discuss the issue again.


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