AYER — The Page Hilltop Elementary School could have a new home in the future, though students won’t have to go far to find new classrooms.
Town Manager Robert Pontbriand said last Tuesday that the Board of Selectmen recently recommended to the Ayer-Shirley Regional School District that it should begin planning for the construction of a new elementary school. Pontbriand said that the process is still in its very early stages, but the new building could be located behind the current building on Washington Street while the old building is repurposed as a senior center or a municipal meeting hall.
“We don’t have a lot of open land in town, so there’s an opportunity to keep using the Page Hilltop land,” Pontbriand said. “Page Hilltop is old and the board feels that it’s time for a change. The board wants to start the process sooner rather than later.”
Mary Malone, superintendent of the Ayer-Shirley Regional School District, attended a Board of Selectmen meeting on June 18 to hear the recommendation from Select Chair Scott Houde.
At the meeting, Malone said that the first step in this lengthy process usually starts in January with a statement of intent submitted to the Mass School Building Authority.
Pontbriand said that there was “no outward opposition” to the recommendation, though School Committee Chair Michele Granger asked if the rest of the selectmen believed it was appropriate to start planning for a new school. The board agreed.
“The Page Hilltop is an older building and there has been discussion on replacing/renovating the elementary schools, but there has not been a final decision,” Malone said in an email last week.
“The Finance Committee will probably take a position on the issue and then send a formal request to the school committee, which they’ll probably tackle in September,” Pontbriand said.
Pontbriand added that Houde is set to attend a future Finance Committee meeting to discuss the plan for a new school.
Jon Winkler: @MrJW595 on Twitter