Aldermen Receive and File Proposal for Vacant Hallsville School

April 26 – Manchester aldermen rejected a proposal to convert the vacant Hallsville School building into a mixed-use community center and instead asked city officials to solicit ideas for the property.

Earlier this year, Southern New Hampshire Services and the Granite State Children’s Alliance submitted a plan to convert the vacant Hallsville school building into a facility serving everyone from children to seniors. City officials have raised concerns about the lack of communication with neighbors and a key part of the plan – giving the building to organizers for free.

The building and associated parcels were valued at $4.4 million in 2017.

In a letter to aldermen, Southern New Hampshire Services Executive Director and former Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said the project would include the Child Advocacy Center and the Granite State Children’s Alliance, 20 senior housing units, an Early Childhood Development classroom and/or a Head Start classroom.

Lozeau said organizers plan to keep the existing gymnasium available to the public, along with a small playground.

“Our request to the city is to be a partner in this remarkable project by providing this building at no cost to the project,” she wrote. “We are asking this because of the unprecedented cost of construction and materials we are facing.”

Current estimates for the project are $8 million minimum, Lozeau wrote.

Members of the Aldermanic Committee on Lands and Buildings voted unanimously to receive and table the plan, thus killing the proposal – for now.

“They can always resubmit it,” Alderman Tony Sapienza said ahead of the vote.

A community forum held this month to solicit thoughts on the future of the school building generated dozens of ideas, ranging from affordable housing for families to a multicultural youth center to housing for the elderly. .

The aldermen have asked staff from the Planning and Solicitor Department, as well as the Manchester Economic Development Office, to draft an Application of Interest for the site for approval at their next meeting in May.

“The request for interest would allow anyone and everyone to do whatever they would like to do with it,” Alderman Pat Long said. “A RFP would sort of tell you what the proposals are.”

“Anyone can come back to us with thoughts on what they would like to do with the building, what they would like to pay for the building and what conditions they would like to put on it,” Alderman June Trisciani said. .

Officials said they would include language in the application that addresses concerns about the impact any project could have on traffic, the neighborhood and the city’s desire to meet affordable housing needs.

“We’re not tying anybody’s hands,” Long said.

The last bell rang in Hallsville last June, 130 years after it opened. Former Superintendent of Schools John Goldhardt recommended the school be closed as part of the fiscal year 2022 budget.

Several of the city’s former school building repurposing projects provide a window into what might happen at the Hallsville site.

In the late 1990s, the Brown School was to be turned over to the city, with plans to convert it into the new West Side branch library and senior center. The Amory Street property now houses apartments managed by the city’s housing authority.

In 2007, SilverTech Inc., a city-based web services company, entered into a purchase and sale agreement to purchase the former Ash Street School building at 196 Bridge St.

The property was a primary school which later served as the administration building for the Manchester School District.

The old school in Varney became a complex for the elderly, known as Varney School Apartments.