Updated with Town Administrator, Council on Aging comment

School District offices to move to East Wareham School

Council on Aging to expand use of Multiservice Center
Oct 15, 2021

The Wareham School District will be moving its central offices to the East Wareham School, located at 27 Depot St., at the request of the town, which wants to dedicate the Multiservice Center to the Council on Aging.

“They want the space,” said Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood.

During an Oct. 14 School Committee meeting, she said the town will help the district move, and that the district is looking into what repairs might be necessary at the building, which has sat vacant for some time.

Moving the offices would also mean moving the PASS program classrooms. Shaver-Hood said the district is looking into where that program should be held.

The move will likely happen sometime around Jan. 1, 2022, Shaver-Hood said. She noted that the move shouldn’t increase the district’s costs.

Town Administrator Derek Sullivan said the move was driven by a few factors. 

“The school department had been seeking extra space for a while,” Sullivan said. “It was brought up during the new school planning but would not have been reimbursed by the [Massachusetts School Building Authority], so the idea was dropped.”

The Massachusetts School Building Authority will be reimbursing the district for about 75 percent of the eligible project costs of building the new Wareham Elementary School. 

In addition, he said the Council on Aging “has consistently been asking the school department for more space for their senior center operations.”

With both the Council on Aging and the school district in need of additional space, Sullivan said he and Shaver-Hood discussed ways to free up more space in the Multiservice Center for the town’s seniors. 

“During the discussion, Dr. Shaver-Hood expressed a desire for more functional administrative space and she had been thinking for a while about moving back to the East School,” he explained.

He noted that there are restrictions on the East Wareham School property that require it to be used for educational purposes, which would make selling the property more difficult. For that reason, he said the move “made a lot of sense.”

Council on Aging Director Missy Dziczek said that although the added space was a welcomed addition, the Council on Aging was still supportive of the effort to secure the John W. Decas Elementary School to be used in a way that would benefit the community. The Decas School article, which was brought forth via a citizens’ petition, will be up for votes at Town Meeting on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. 

“I would certainly appreciate having more space in the Multiservice Center as the [Council on Aging] has been asking for the past seven years, but a multi-generational center at Decas would be optimal,” she said, “to be able to interact with the kids on a daily basis — reading, doing crafts, music, listening to each other, being taught new things on our phones and iPads. The possibilities are endless!” 

Dziczek added that the outdoor space at the Decas School would be great for seniors. At the Multiservice Center “we have nothing but asphalt,” she said.

Ultimately, Sullivan said the school district’s move to the East School would “be a boon for the seniors.”  

“The Multiservice Center by its very name has been a spot for community uses,” he said. “To have 27,000 square feet available for the seniors and, if they wish, other community functions, it fulfills the mission of the building. This also brings life back to a vacant historic structure in Town.”