Town looks to lease Walley School
Building has been vacant for nearly 10 years
By Erik Dickervitz
Interested in taking over an old school? The Town of Bristol has one to lease.
Although it occupies a prominent spot on the northwest corner of town common, the former Walley School at 260 High St., has been shuttered for nearly 10 years, costing taxpayer money for maintenance and missed opportunity costs. Last year a group of Roger Williams University students came up with a preliminary plan for the building to be converted to an arts center, creating an affordable incubator where artists and art enthusiasts can mix and mingle in a creative environment. While such a use is still open for discussion, community planning director Diane Williamson said that the town is currently seeking any and all interested parties who have a viable plan to re-use the vacant building.
“We want to see if there’s anyone out there who is interested in a public/private partnership,” Ms. Williamson said.
The Town of Bristol is requesting proposals for the approximately 18,000-square-foot building to identify a qualified person or group who will reuse the building with a use or uses that will put it back into productive use. Besides occupying an otherwise vacant building, town officials said that a successful plan must have a significant positive economic impact on the community. The town will consider lease proposals up to 99 years, including public, private partnership proposals.
Details of the town’s RFP (request for proposals) are posted on the town’s website, www.bristolri.us. Proposals must be filed at the town clerk’s office by noon on June 26, 2013.