The Business Advisory Council (BAC) presented its final report on Milford Main to the Board of Education. The BAC has been working over the past year and a half to talk with stakeholders, potential buyers/developers, construction companies, and others to gather information about the state of the building and its potential for various other uses.
Based on what the building can generate in income and what it costs for everyday operation expenses, the building is currently “plus a dollar, minus a dollar” every year in terms of breaking even. However, if there is a large maintenance expense required in any given year, that number swings significantly into the red. For instance, this year, the roof portion over the auditorium must be replaced. Estimates are that it will cost $15,000, which will put the district at a loss re: the building for the year. In addition, higher utility costs due to the severe winter weather will also affect the bottom line quite a bit.
Right now, the roof and the boiler are the two main concerns. If either of these needs to be replaced, it will cost the district significant money. Every year, the boiler is examined; every year, the district is told it won’t last much longer. So far, we have been lucky with both the roof and boiler, but this won’t last forever.
Given these concerns, the BAC recommends the district divest itself of Milford Main. No one wants to see the building torn down; but it is a liability to the district and a potentially large drain on the funds we need to educate our students. This is the same recommendation the school board has received on two other occasions, the first going back to the 1990s. To sell the building, the district must first put it up for auction, before offering it to individual buyers in a private sale.
After much discussion, the school board agreed the first step is to gather more information. We need an updated appraisal, and we would also like to determine the cost to remove the Rookwood fountain and the large mural, both of which are of historical value. We would also like to gain community input on thoughts and feelings re: the building.
After that information is collected, the board will discuss next steps based on what we learn. Times and locations for community input options will be announced as soon as they are set.