Arts Alliance Hears Options for Wing School

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Joanne Westerhouse, at left, president of the Sandwich Arts Alliance, and others from the alliance attend a meeting about the future of the Wing School last night.

Joanne Westerhouse, at left, president of the Sandwich Arts Alliance, speaks about the future of the Wing School at a meeting last night.

SANDWICH – The Sandwich Arts Alliance is at the table when it comes to figuring out the future for the historic Henry T. Wing School.

The school on Water Street was the subject of Monday night’s re-use feasibility meeting at town hall.

The school, which was partly built in 1927 and saw its last day of classes last month, will now temporarily house school district administrative offices while the town sorts out what to do with the complex.

Sandwich Selectman Patrick Ellis and other officials presented five options ranging in price from roughly $4.5 to $69 million.

Options 1 and 1A were the cheapest; both projected at under $5 million. They would either have everything but the 1927 wing demolished or the entire complex demolished, with site restoration but no building renovations.

The third option was the most expensive, calling for a $69,478,000 complete renovation for the building.

Options 5 and 5A would both demolish all but the 1927 wing, renovate it, then either add a new gym or add no additions. These were the mid-grade options, projected at roughly $34 million or $28 million, respectively.

Most of the questions and comments from those present were aimed at analyzing these costs.

Sandwich Arts Alliance President Joanne Westerhouse suggested a citizen’s committee be formed to reconfigure some of the proposed options.

“I’m worried that if any of those options become warrants at Town Meeting, they’ll just get voted down and everybody will lose,” Westerhouse said. “We need to find something that is truly functional that has the lowest renovation costs.”

Sandwich Selectmen Patrick Ellis said the takeaway is that these kinds of projects are inherently pricier than many that go before town meetings. If residents value the property, he said, they will inevitably have to deal with what he calls “the money shock.”

“This was a different meeting in the sense that we released a lot of costs,” Ellis said. “So this time, people who had felt strongly about different portions of the building really got the reality of what the cost of renovation is.”

A third meeting is expected to be announced for the fall.
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