NORWAY – The Board of Selectmen was told Thursday night that the Little Red Schoolhouse beside Lake Pennesseewassee will be shut down for the winter after several groups who used it year-round for meetings said they could not afford to heat it this season.

“We had no choice but to close it up,” Town Manager David Hot said after informing the board that the Norway Trackers snowmobile club could not afford the price of oil and would be meeting in a room at town hall for free this winter.

The former one-room schoolhouse on Waterford Road has been used by the snowmobile club, Oxford Hills ATV Club, Norway-Paris Fish and Game Club and Norway Parks Department swim program. The Norway Lakes Association also meets there over the summer months. The clubs pay for the heat in the building.

Holt said his understanding was that once the snowmobile club decided to opt out of using the building this winter, everyone else also declined to use the facility because of the costs of heating the building.

“We have no contract with them,” Holt reminded the board.

Town meeting voters used more than $50,000 from the Sanborn Trust to pay for renovations including painting, replacement of floor boards, replacing the 20-plus-year-old furnace and pumping out and digging out the steel sewer storage tank and replacing it. Money was also used to paint and replace some of the wood on the outside walls that was rotting.

Selectman Russ Newcomb did note that the town had put a new furnace in the schoolhouse last year.

Holt said nonprofit groups are allowed to use meeting rooms in town hall during the evening on a first come, first serve basis if a town board is not using the room. The Town Hall on Danforth Street is heated and accessible, he said.

Selectman Bruce Cook requested that the town make sure the schoolhouse’s water was properly drained or winterized to make sure no pipes burst.

The building’s electricity will be kept on and it will be used for three major events this winter, including the annual fishing derby and snowmobile races.


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