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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Weathersfield Keeping 1879 School Building

What to do with the old Perkinsville School building has been a hot topic of conversation in Weathersfield throughout the spring and summer. Conclusive answers have been hard to come by for citizens who would like to see the old building back in use. However, at its August 19 meeting, the Weathersfield Select Board took action to clear up at least one question. It's keeping the historic structure in the town's hands.

The five-member board voted unanimously to maintain ownership of the 1879 building. Meanwhile, the town is also requesting bids from contractors to remove two additions from the original structure. The bid request, posted on the Weathersfield website, states:

The Former Perkinsville School Property consists of interconnected buildings from 1879, 1954 and 1969. This project includes demolition of the 1954 and 1969 buildings which total approximately 13,350 square feet.

Currently, work is being done to remove hazardous materials from the mid-twentieth century additions. The demolition bid will be awarded at the end of September.

One group eager to occupy the old school building is the Weathersfield Food Shelf Committee. But not everyone is convinced that is the best use for the space.  According to the minutes of the meeting, Michael Todd, who attended the August select board session said the use of the building should be put to the voters:

Mr. Todd said while the Food Shelf is a good idea it will be the Towns responsibility to pay for it and that means it should go back before the people to decide if they want to pay for maintenance of this building.

Weathersfield has been without a food shelf since the Perkinsville Community Church discontinued the service. The Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf has been serving approximately 20 Weathersfield families, with financial support from the Town of Weathersfield.

Selectman Dave Fuller added his own concerns:

Mr. Fuller said he understands the need for a food shelf but not sure if we need one in our town or if we can work with other towns like we do with the solid waste facility and like what we have been doing with the town of Reading. He said no matter what is decided there can't be traffic during the demolition which should be happening soon.
Mr. Fuller said we need to know the costs associated with this, who will have keys to the building, what part of the building will be occupied as a food shelf etc.

Weathersfield Food Shelf Committee representative deForest Bearse told the select board his group will start putting a plan together in hopes of occupying the space.

Mrs. Bearse said the Committee will work on the details, they just needed to know the Select Board wasn't going to be selling the building. She said there are Grants available, they have looked at the building, they have some shelving already there etc.

In May, representatives from the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf agreed to serve Weathersfield residents for six more months.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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