The Prudential Committee is responsible for the finances and governing of the village of Cotuit. The three-member committee is elected to manage the finances of the village, oversee the use and maintenance of Freedom Hall, and deal with business brought before the village, such as the recent transfer of the Cotuit Elementary School property from the Town of Barnstable to the Cotuit Fire District.
The Committee invites Cotuit residents to attend its monthly meetings to receive updates on District business, ask questions, and offer comments. A schedule and location of these meetings may be found by clicking on the “Agenda” items linked here.
The Cotuit Fire District needs to determine how we use the School property moving forward. Considerations include whether it is possible to rehabilitate part or all of the existing building for use by Cotuit residents and the Fire, Water, and/or Finance Departments, whether the building should be demolished—and if so, whether a new structure should be built on the property.
While this decision and approval process is underway, the condition of the School is rapidly deteriorating with active vandalism and water damage from roof leaks. For example, it is no longer possible to walk through the corridors without crunching on broken glass underfoot and dodging moldy insulation and ceiling tiles that have dropped to the floor. (See these samples of such damage as seen during a 1/24/2024 walk-through.)
Below is a review of background about the School Property Project.
Tracking Progress on the Cotuit Elementary School Property Project
In a meeting on Nov. 9, 2023, when the Prudential committee hosted a Village Zoom meeting to reach out to residents and to listen to and answer questions about the Cotuit Elementary School property. Mark Lynch presented a short PowerPoint summary of the current status of the property. The video of the entire meeting and a log of the chat record is available for review.
On August 15, 2023, the Prudential Committee and the Fire and Water Commissioners met with interested residents at Freedom Hall to present and invite input regarding possible uses of the property and on funding/financing proposals. Below is a list of some of the presented alternatives and considerations, along with other relevant background information.
Introduction by the Prudential Committee: Committee member Mark Lynch outlined the timeline and process of the inter-governmental transfer of the property to the Cotuit Fire District.
The Fire Department presented Cotuit Fire Station Needs.
Comments from the Water Department provided by Board of Water Commissioner Scott Horsley. These comments expand on what he presented in a January, 27, 2021 letter from Commissioner Horsley to the Town of Barnstable.
Several residents expressed interest in converting the school into a Community Center for various uses such as providing daycare services, adult education classes, and indoor sports.
In this video of the 6/22/2023 meeting of the Prudential Committee’s School Sub-Committee, Attorney Mark Boudreau discussed possible legal restrictions that may limit our options for how we use the property, and Treasurer Ray Pirrone provided estimates of the annual average tax increase for Cotuit residents for various alternative uses of the school property.
Information about the Condition of the School Building:
In 2007, many Barnstable Public Schools were (re)inspected for Asbestos. Two years later, three elementary schools were permanently closed, including Cotuit’s. This is the Summary of the Asbestos Inspection findings for the Cotuit Elementary School in 2007.
The 2020 Habeeb Report: A Comprehensive Facilities Assessment was developed to address the physical structure and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems of the Cotuit Elementary School. The Assessment Report described the conditions of the School at that time and provided priority recommendations and budget estimates for repair/replacement of deficient building components and systems to be used in short- and long-term capital planning.
2023 Update to Habeeb Report Cost Estimates: In September 2023, the School repair costs were updated to reflect actual inflation since the original 2020 report along with an additional project cost of replacing the roof.
Cotuit Elementary School Demolition Cost Study from the Town of Barnstable: Using a Fiscal Year 2023 cost basis, this study estimated funds needed for hazardous materials abatement, design, bidding, demolition of the school building, removal of the foundation, and adding loam and seeding of the project site.
Underground Storage Tank Closure Assessment: This 8/31/2023 report documents details the removal and disposal of the Underground Storage Tank, the associated piping, and wastes generated, and presents the assessment of soil conditions subsequent to removing the tank.
Demolition of Marstons Mills School: The Cotuit Elementary School (built in 1955) and the Marstons Mills Elementary School (built in 1957) were both closed in 2009. The Marstons Mills School was demolished in 2023. This is the Town of Barnstable’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the demolition of that school. It provides an example of the considerations and requirements involved in the demolition. The winning bid for that project was $750,000 plus a $250,000 contingency.
If you are interested in learning a little more about how the Prudential Committee was formed, we are fortunate to have permission of the Historical Society to include documents from their archives. Read the story here.