For sales signs have gone up outside three vacant buildings owned by the Town of North Kingstown. Among them is Wickford Elementary School, site of Rhode Island's first public school, with a selling price of $1.1 million.
The former elementary school closed down in 2005. The North Kingstown Town Council and School Committee attempted to bring the building back to life last year with a proposal to convert the former school into a joint town hall and school administrative office. Last September in a special election, voters shot down a $3.85-million bond to convert the building – but approved a question that would allow the town to sell the building.
Wickford Elementary School hits the market with two other town-owned buildings – the former IT building on Reynolds Street (behind town hall) and the former town garage on Oak Hill Road.
Below are the asking prices for the properties:
- Wickford Elementary – $1.1 million
- Reynolds Street – $249,000
- Oak Hill – $999,999
According to Town Manager Michael Embury, the town intends to use the funds from the sale of these buildings toward its other post employment benefits (OPEB). This trust fund is not a pension plan, Embury stated.
Allen Gammons of Prudential Gammons Realty in East Greenwich will be marketing the properties. According to Embury, he has already received a number of inquiries. Last September after the bond failed, Embury suggested the town reach out to a professional organization to market these properties for sale.
“We don’t have the staff to keep answering questions or to bring people on tours,” said Embury. “I think a professional organization is the way to go.”
While these three properties go up for sale, another vacant town building may have a different future. Little Red Schoolhouse on School Street is taking a different route for its future as town officials consider turning the building into a new home for the North Kingstown Food Pantry. The school, which used to house a preschool program, closed down last year due to financial hardship.
The town solicitor and others are now drafting up a five-year least between the town and the food pantry to move it to the larger space.