LIVERMORE FALLS — A long-term plan to redevelop a major section of the former high school here into a community center began Wednesday night with people suggesting specific uses.

Although just a handful of local residents attended, they brought many ideas for potential uses. Among them were culinary classes, a soup kitchen, a community kitchen and a site for Meals on Wheels. Other food-related ideas included gardening, canning and preserving classes, and renting the space for wedding and other receptions and dances. With the stage at one end of the cafeteria, performances were also mentioned.

A significant portion of the former Spruce Mountain High School is now being used for adult and community education classes, as well as college classes and enrichment courses.

Eileen Miazga, director of the Spruce Mountain Adult Education Center, organized the forum, and is leading the move to turn much of the building into a community center.

“There’s no place in this area this big with a stage,” she said.

And using the kitchen could be an opportunity to teach students about catering, cooking and other hospitality-related skills.


“We need some upgrades, new equipment and painting,” she said of the cafeteria.

She also said she is investigating the process for licensing the kitchen.

Other spaces could be used for conference rooms, and for eventually offering woodworking and similar trades skills.

The gymnasium would be the perfect location for indoor walking during the cold months.

Rep. Paul Gilbert, D-Jay, said organizations in some towns also offer warming centers so people could turn down their thermostats, come to the site, have lunch and socialize.

Jackie Knight, an RSU 73 board member from Livermore Falls, said the cafeteria was used last year for Santa’s Workshop. A group known as Spirit of the Season collects items that are sold to children who want to buy gifts for family members.


The group also operated Coats for Kids and the annual Christmas parade.

Area Youth Sports, headed by Tom Fortier, is in negotiations to use a part of the building for sports camps.

Denise Rodzen, RSU 73 board chairwoman, said a need exists for more free community suppers. She also agreed that the area lacks a hall sufficient for large gatherings, adding that she had to rent a hall at the University of Maine at Farmington when her son was married.

She also suggested occasional movie nights for the young people in the area.

“The possibilities are endless,” she said.

Livermore Falls resident Melissa Crocker suggested offering classes on local government so people will have a better understanding of what goes on, and the laws that are in place, for their town.


Superintendent Robert Wall said redevelopment of the former high school would create an enterprise opportunity.

“As time goes on, we’d like to develop the whole building,” he said.

Miazga, as well as Wall, want the community to get involved in the direction a redevelopment could take.

Those with ideas, or who want to serve on an advisory committee are asked to call Miazga at 897-6354.

In the meantime, the RSU 73 board will look into school policies for use of the building, and Miazga will search for grants, investigate security needs, and a multitude of other issues.

The next forum will be held once an advisory group is formed.

“This will take some work to get up and running,” Miazga said.

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