Anawan School Stands the Test of Time
A recent report of a structural engineer has determined that the Anawan School is structurally sound in spite of the years of neglect. If the problems cited by various parties are mitigated, the engineer estimated that the building has a useful life of 25 to 50 years.
For unknown reasons, the Town Fathers seem to be eager to demolish the building which is suspected to contain hazardous materials. Even the pictures taken by the Selectmen show deplorable conditions which would require inspection and mitigation before demolition. Lack of proper procedure could result in making all the debris deemed hazardous and result in very costly disposal of demolition debris,
Many have questioned the reason for preserving the building. Rehoboth is a town undergoing rapid change. Bits of our history are slipping away. Anawan School is a key piece in the development a centralized school system. It brought together the students from a number of one room school houses in our sprawling town. The Hornbine School is an example of the type of schools prior to Anawan and we are fortunate to have preserved that bit of history.
But aside from sentimental value the school can now be repurposed for years of use to serve senior citizens. Our town desperately needs senior housing. Seniors have to leave Rehoboth for facilities in other towns when they can no longer stay in their homes. A development was planned which would have incorporated the School. For a number reasons the plan floundered but may be revived.
However, that is not the only option. Others have proposed ideas for its use. Ideas must be vetted, funding must be determined. But with the building cleaned out and properly maintained with a new roof, we can move forward with plans.
Instead of spending a large amount of money to demolish and dispose of a solidly constructed building, let’s stop the ongoing damage with a new roof and remove the hazardous materials to create a needed resource for the Town.