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Gorham school eyed for police station

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Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 6:11 pm

GORHAM - The former Little Falls Schools could be converted to a new police station in Gorham under the latest plan to reuse the building.

The Town Council next week will consider asking voters in a November referendum to approve borrowing $5.75 million to pay for converting the former school to a central police station and for renovations to the Public Safety Building at 270 Main St. The council meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug.7.

With interest estimated at costing 3 percent and accounting for $1.8 million through 20 years, the total cost would be $7.56 million.

The police and fire departments are both located in the Public Safety Building. A renovated Public Safety Building would see continued use by police and fire departments.

The proposal would make re-use of the former elementary school on Acorn Street in Little Falls that recently has been used for Gorham Recreation Department programs and as a meeting place for the Lakes Region Senior Citizens.

If the council decides not to use the building for a police station, it would ask voters in a referendum for $500,000 for repairs to continue using the school as a community center. The council would also ask voters in a separate referendum for $750,000 to renovate the present Public Safety Building.

In recent years, Little Falls School had been leased to the Sebago Educational Alliance before that organizaton relocated to Buxton. The building had served as a former kindergarten and as a sixth grade in the fall of 2003 while waiting for completion of the town’s new middle school.

The Little Falls School, built in the 1950s, was once considered for conversion to a fire station shared by Gorham and Windham.

The council on Tuesday could also decide the fate of another aging school. It is proposing to demolish the former White Rock Elementary School on North Gorham Road. That school became obsolete with the opening of the new Great Falls Elementary School last September.

The town’s assessed value of Little Falls School and its 6.5-acre site is $1.4 million. The assessed value for the White Rock School and its 10.4 acres is $2 million.

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