Inmates paint at “coming soon” community center in Bourne

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This sign tells a lot about what’s going on inside the 107-year-old Hoxie Grammar School, located behind it in the Sagamore Beach section of Cape Cod.  In an effort that began 5½ years ago, project advocates have been busy bringing it back to life as a community center dedicated to . . . well, almost everything.  On-site and outreach venues actively under discussion include a gym/auditorium for concerts, theatre, and dance; spacious classrooms for courses in natural history, fishing, and maritime ecology; and room for after-school events for the town’s youth and children.

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On the docket right now is a top-to-bottom makeover of about a half dozen spacious but dilapidated classrooms.  Which is where an inmate work crew dispatched by county Sheriff Jim Cummings comes in.  Here, inmate Brian Irvine wipes off the inside window as part of the job.  Badly scarred and even breached ceilings are being reconstructed, bright new hues of paint are replacing old ones, and even the blackboards are being rejuvenated.

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An outside-looking-in angle of inmate Travis French as he applies coat to an inside window frame.  As you can see, the outside will need attending to as well, but all in good time.  The building has stood for more than a century, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this much welcomed infusion of inmate labor is just one piece of a much larger undertaking.  But a significant one at that, project supporters say.

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Deputy and shift-crew supervisor Jeff Wiseman reminds us that the job’s not done until the paperwork is finished.  In this case, Wiseman is making an entry into a log that includes various security steps relating to inmates rather than the job being performed.  Deputies who man posts at the correctional facility in Bourne make similar entries, but do so on computers.

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Wiseman shifts to  product supervision with inmate Irvine, both pictured earlier.  Sheriff Cummings, meanwhile, helped the project earlier by making a tent available for a fundraiser.  Scores of non-profit groups on the Cape have done likewise in the past few years.  Concludes the Sheriff: “We can lend a hand by donating labor or we can do it by lending them a tent.  Either way, it furthers the cause we’re assisting with.”

Media release and photos furnished by Barnstable Sheriff’s Office

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