Town seeks Old Kings Highway District input on Clark-Haddad fate

Town seeks Old Kings Highway District input on Clark-Haddad fate

Can building be razed? Can it be moved? Is it historical?

Posted Oct 07, 2011 @ 11:52 AM

Selectmen have directed Town Manager Bud Dunham to approach the Old King’s Highway Historical District to help determine the fate and future of the Clark-Haddad Building at Jarvesville.

Dunham will present two key questions to the district: can the structure be demolished, and can it be moved?

Selectman James Pierce says that once the district provides answers to those questions, his board will be able to gauge the true historical value of the old school that is disintegrating.

“To do nothing is not the right course of action,” Pierce said Thursday night. “We’ve got to ask the questions.”

Selectmen agreed that highway district answers would eliminate some options and help narrow a range of solutions. Pierce emphasized the point that his proposed questions are theoretical, not literal; but he also said the highway district carries the clout and regulatory authority over what is done with buildings in its domain.

Sandwich Historical Commission Chairman Terry Blake early Thursday night asked selectmen to table any action on Clark-Haddad until November so her panel could develop some “objective criteria” about the old building; and perhaps conduct a community visioning session related to its future viability. Selectmen weren’t buying.

Raze the building? Restore it in place? Or move it? These questions have been circulating throughout town government for months given the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce idea to move the building to an areanear Exit 2 of Route 130 and renovate it for use as a visitor center.

Pierce says that if the district agrees Clark-Haddad is indeed historical, the town might then approach the Community Preservation Act review committee to determine if that group’s historical resources account could be tapped for restoration or moving the building.

Dunham advised selectmen there are five instances in Massachusetts of CPA funds being used to relocate historical structures.

There was a fair degree of frustration among historical commission members Wednesday night before their vote to ask selectmen to table action on Clark-Haddad. Some members predicted a huge community outcry if the old building is moved.

Members resolved, however, not to “take a position” on what to do with the structure “until that makes sense.” And chamber director Kate Bavelock assured all concerned that the chamber is supportive of the historical commission in its efforts to achieve a solution.

Clark-Haddad, known as the Sand Hill School, is closed up. It previously served as the school system’s administrative office. Town meeting voters last year decided the building should be preserved and not sold.