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City officials seek RFPs for former Brookings School building

July 16, 2014

G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – City officials hope that the Elias Brookings School on Hancock Street will get a new use through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

The city had its first walk-through of the building on July 11.

Senior Project Manager and Brownfields Coordinator Samalid Hogan explained to Reminder Publications the most likely re-use will be housing, although the city is open to mixed use development as well.

Built in 1925, the school was damaged during the June 1, 2011, tornado. The roof has since been replaced and there is minimal water damage to the structure, Hogan noted. The school has about 56,610 square feet of space on a 77,903 square foot lot.

Hogan said the appraised value of the school building is $215,000 and any bid coming in less than that amount would have to be justified by the prospective buyer.

Hogan said the property is zoned Residence B. If redeveloped into multifamily housing a zone change would be required.

The former school is near a variety of new development in the Maple High Six Corners neighborhood. The new Brookings School is being built nearby and single-family homes are being constructed on Central Street. There are plans to alter the course of Central Street, as well as to widen and improve Hickory Street.

Hogan noted once the new school is finished in 2015, the temporary school buildings will be removed and Ruth Elizabeth Park will be restored.

The three-story building is essentially in the same shape it was in the day after the storm. There has been no vandalism to the property and no evidence of vermin such as pigeons.

“The bottom floors are in fairly good condition. There was some damage to the top floor while the roof was being repaired,” she said.

There are classrooms on three floors with a cafeteria space in the basement. There is also a combined gymnasium and auditorium. Hogan added there are about 30 parking spaces.

Some of the school materials such as books and television sets are still in the classrooms, although desks and chairs have been removed. There was only one place where there was water on the floor.

The only visible signs of damage from the tornado are on the third floor where the change of air pressure partially demolished one interior wall.

Hogan said there would be a pre-bid conference at 3 p.m. July 25 at 70 Tapley St., at the Office of Planning and Economic Development and another walk-through from 10 to 11 a.m. Aug. 15.

The RFP is due by 2 p.m. on Sept. 12.

The RFP can be seen at www3.springfield-ma.gov/finance/bid-detail.html?bid=201415-010.

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