September 28, 2021

Selectmen May Vote to Demolish Anawan School


The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will discuss and vote on the demolition of Anawan School at their September 13 meeting. Carol Williams, the Chair of the Community Preservation Committee, was supposed to present a plan for security fencing on Tuesday. Williams has been hospitalized for an undisclosed ailment.

Last June, William McDonough, the town’s Building Commissioner, said the building at 53 Bay State Road was “unsafe” and ordered it to be demolished within 90 days. CPC member Patricia Vadnais told the board there had been no previous discussion about purchasing a fence for Anawan School at the group’s meeting. Selectman Michael Deignan made a motion to demolish the building. “We asked (the CPC) to come with a plan tonight, we gave them well over a month to do it and we got nothing tonight and tonight was the deadline,” Deignan said. “They had their chance, we’re finished with it.”

Selectman Dave Perry didn’t think a vote on the motion was appropriate because it was not on the meeting agenda. Deignan explained the board had already made a motion to demolish the building. “We put it on hold because we were giving them an opportunity to come back to us with a plan that was signed off by our building inspector to make the building so it was safe so that people wouldn’t get hurt,” Deignan added.

“It’s an old building,” said Selectman George Solas. “My belief is that it could possibly be fixed. There are other things that could possibly be done.”

“Between now and next week, CPC needs to have a meeting and they need to vote to do something,” said Chairman Skip Vadnais. “Coming in here with something that hasn’t been voted is not acceptable.”

Williams had hired a structural engineer to inspect the facility. “He said (the building) has a 25 to 50 year usefulness if it were taken care of,” Williams told the Reporter last month. “In the meantime, it’s just deteriorating further. We can’t do anything, we can’t put a roof on, we can’t do anything because (selectmen) don’t want it done.”

McDonough, Fire Chief Frank Barresi, and Health Agent Karl Drown conducted an inspection of the building on June 3. McDonough reported 90 percent of the ceilings had collapsed and all of the hardwood floors were “completely buckled and rotted.”

The building was also impacted by extensive water damage. McDonough spotted “multiple holes on the roof” and multiple broken windows. “There is not a stable piece of wood in that building,” Perry said at a June meeting. “The building is ready to collapse. Nothing is salvageable.”


1 comment on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Katy Rourke Wilson

It's still strange to me that Perry's quote here at the end is that is not salvageable, when the structural engineer says the opposite. I'm not trying to disparage anyone here, but where is this belief that it's not salvageable coming from? Why hasn't the BOS taken care of it? Doesn't breed confidence when folks can't take care of things already in their possession. I cannot believe that while a woman like Ms. Williams, who has done countless good deeds to preserve our cultural heritage in Rehoboth is hospitalized, the BOS will just move forward with demolition for reasons like they don't want to put a roof on it. Swamp Yankees made use of everything and reused it and used it again. This is our heritage. Not to mention the fact that, in case you missed the sign in the middle of our town, we are the "BIRTHPLACE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION" soon to be the gravesite of public education with us knocking down the sites that remind of us of who we are and where we came from while gutting our public schools simultaneously.

Thursday, September 9
Truly local news delivered to every home in town