RE: Mary E. Taylor School

An open letter to the SAD 28 School Board

Posted:  Monday, November 20, 2017 - 9:30pm
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The Camden Historic Resources Committee, which has the responsibility to advise the Select Board on certain matters concerning historic properties and historic resources as they pertain to the town, strongly recommends the MSAD 28 School Board abandon thoughts of demolishing the Mary E. Taylor Building and, instead, focus on ideas for repurposing the historic building.  As a group, we oppose the destruction of the MET building.  

The Mary E. Taylor School is one of Camden’s best-known buildings and represents our legacy and commitment to quality education.  It is a great source of pride to many of our citizens who attended MET, taught or worked at MET, or had children who attended MET.  Maintaining the Mary Taylor School as a resource and a neighborhood anchor connecting the town to its past can be a catalyst for community pride and community revitalization. 

Many citizens who voted favorably for the June 2017 bond issue were voting for a new middle school facility they believed was necessary, but they also believed that the MET building would be reconsidered and eventually valued and saved.  Now, because of the restrictions placed by the school administrative body on the potential uses of the building, it appears that no serious consideration is being given to the future of the building other than getting rid of it. The Historic Resources Committee believes this is a mindset that prevents forthright and fair conversation going forward. 

Since the well-constructed building is in good physical condition, it appears that a satisfactory use for the building could be determined if time were afforded to honestly consider and identify alternative uses.  As sustainability is one of our town’s current focuses, what better example of sustainability than repurposing a perfectly viable building.

Might the Historic Resources Committee suggest the Town of Camden consider part of the building as a place for collecting all of the town’s vital records, historic resources, and documents to create a safe and proper repository and archive to house all of these materials which are currently scattered among at least three locations?  Just a thought, perhaps including a history museum.  We’re sure there are many creative and possible uses for so venerable a building. 

In any case, the Historic Resources Committee concurs with Maine Preservation and its designation of the Mary E. Taylor School as one of the most endangered historic places in Maine, and we recommend taking more time to consider constructive options.  We urge other groups and individuals to join us in persuading the School Board to loosen its restrictions and objectively open its mind to consider other ideas beyond the removal of the building. 

Because the School Board has stated they have heard from few citizens, we urge residents to voice their desires for the MET building by contacting the MSAD 28 Board members at sadpass@fivetowns.net and Superintendent Maria Libby at maria.libby@fivetowns.net.

Respectfully,

Camden Historic Resources Committee: Rosalee Glass, Elinor Klivans, Judith McGuirk, Kristin Mikkelsen, Susan Neves, Beedy Parker, Dawna Pine, Patricia Skaling