That’s a question both the Municipal Facilities Committee and the Historical Commission are asking, but their answers are at different ends of the spectrum.
There are currently two plans on the table for a new police station, one calls for the existing building to be demolished and replaced, the other is a renovation of the current building. You can guess where this is going: the Facilities Committee recommends a brand new building while the Historical Commission wants to renovate the existing one which they say has historical significance.
The Historical Commission believes the renovation plan isn’t being considered as a viable option because it wasn’t thoroughly explored. That’s why they told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night that they plan to spend $2,000 from their own budget to review options with an architect who specializes in historic rehabs.
“To do due diligence to the original building, we need to do a more thorough investigation,” Historical Commission member Nancy Vargas said. Instead of using the rehab plan developed by the Facilities Committee, which Vargas said doesn’t work from a planning perspective, the Historical Commission will develop a new plan.
But Chairman Bill Boland had reservations. “I do not see it as your responsibility to design a police station, regardless of whether it’s in a historic building.”
The selectmen previously lent their support to a new building over a renovation plan, but left the door open for options that would preserve the existing building.
Selectmen Salvatore Giorlandino expressed concern that the Historical Commission was going to oppose the demolition of the original building regardless of the results of their study. “I’m concerned the Historical Commission doesn’t have an open mind,” he told them.
The current police station was originally part of Peters High School. Vargas said a bad renovation in the 1970’s is masking what could be a useful building. “There’s nothing to be afraid of from this building,” she said.
“I wasn’t too happy to be in that building 40 years ago,” said Boland who attended Peters High. “I don’t see a lot of value from what was inside then or what’s inside now.”
The issue of building a new police station is currently slated to come up at Town Meeting in April. According to the latest draft of the warrant, voters will be asked if they want to fund the construction of a new building and the demolition of the existing one.
What’s so historic about the police station anyway?
Have a look at early plans for the new police station
Selectmen lend support to new police station
The town is not in a position to attempt to maintain another run down facility. It should be torn down. And, contrary to what some folks would have you believe, it’s not really that historic.
I agree with John, what is so historic about that building besides its’ age.
Mass Historic has judged the building to be historic. It received its letter of elegibility for the National Historic Register on March 21. The Southborough Historic Commission will be applying for it to be placed on the National Register next year. With a letter of elegibility, this is extremely likely. As an example of educational architecture of the early 19th century it is very historic.
How many other 80-year old brick buildings, in fine condition and with craftsmanship that cannot be replicated, do we have in town? How many other buildings can residents of this town walk past with their children and grandchildren and say “I went to kindergarten in that building!”
As for being run down, that is our own fault. You don’t neglect and abuse a fine building and then tear it down because it is neglected and abused.
Keep tearing down the historic architectural fabric of our town and one day we wake up in a New England town that looks like “Anywhere, USA” and wonder what happenend to our New England charm and our property values.
The “police station” is not necessarily historic, but “Peters’ Annex” certainly is… If Marlborough can convert their fire station downtown to something useful, why can’t we? Its a nice little building, and I agree we need to keep our historical charm.
Oh, btw, Boland attended Peters Annex (1st and 2nd grades were there), not Peters High School, which was already torn down 40 years ago!
Helen, you’re right – it was Peters Annex that Selectman Boland attended. Thanks for the correction!
only knew that ’cause I went there too! :)
HAS Marlboro turned their old fire/police dept. into something useful? I thought it was still just an empty shell! I suppose ours could be useful but don’t we have enough problems trying keep the Arts Center up to code? Maybe the fire department can use it.
I grew in up in Southboro in the 50’s and went to Peter’s Annex for grades 1-3. As an antiques dealer I credit my love of “old stuff” to growing up in buildings such as Peter’s Annex. My memories are of polished wood floors and bannisters, wide(at least they seemed so from a child’s perspective) staircases on either side of the front door and large windows, and of course that unmistakable “old wood smell” that only comes from early buildings.Being a student in that building gave me an appreciation of history, made me feel a part of something that came long before me.
I went to Peter’s Annex too. Mrs. Hayes, Mrs. O’berg… I wonder what became of them.
Anyhow, I vote restore the old building!