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November 1, 2013

School panel seeks $10K for Fuller inspection

Gloucester school officials, seeking a suitable place to house West Parish’s 360 or so students for two years or more during construction of their new elementary school on the same site, is seeking $10,000 for a study to inspect the former Fuller School and gauge what it might cost to get it open as a transition space.

Three groups to date have shown interest in meeting the city’s needs, school officials said: Kondelin Road Realty Trust, the owner of the former ITT Rule building on Kondelin Road; the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, which would likely offer the now-vacant St. Ann School; and a North Carolina search firm that’s expected to shop the city’s request for proposals to potential bidders.

But the School Committee’s building subcommittee members met Wednesday night to address the issue and are further considering the former Fuller school building as “swing space” for students while a new, planned $30 million elementary school is built on the current West Parish footprint.

While there is no option to use the Fuller building on next week’s nonbinding question on the election ballot, officials scheduled a full School Committee meeting for Monday at 4:45 p.m. at the school administration offices to approve a $10,000 request to carry out the proposed inspection of the former school and assess the costs of making it usable as a “swing school.”

The School Committee unanimously voted to declare the building as surplus earlier this year.

School Committee Jonathan Pope outlined the other sites.

“Kondelin Road is great big open space, and St. Ann’s is a school,” he said, adding that the city’s own inspection services have been through each site already.

The time frame for finding space for West Parish students is shrinking, with proposals from potential bidders due by Nov. 8, but with local officials needing to have a transitional plan in place to present to the Massachusetts School Building Authority by Dec. 12.

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