A new town hall, library and community center could be in Falmouth’s future.

A committee looking into the town’s buildings and space needs is set to propose reusing the Plummer-Motz and Lunt School complex as space for a new municipal center, library and community center.

The schools and their land will be vacated when a new elementary school opens next year.

The Falmouth Community Facilities Planning Committee will present that and several other options, including public-private partnerships and a potential sale of town property, at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Plummer-Motz School.

The committee is looking for comments from residents before turning over a recommendation to the Town Council this spring.

If the reuse or renovation of the school property were approved by the council, the final decision would likely rest with voters in a referendum.

“It’s incumbent on us to do this kind of jigsaw puzzle to figure out what makes the most sense over the long haul,” said Town Council Chairwoman Cathy Breen, who serves on the planning committee.

For more than a year, the committee has inventoried the town’s buildings, including the municipal center, schools and Falmouth Memorial Library, Breen said. It has also conducted surveys and public meetings to gauge what residents feel is important to Falmouth’s future.

The town’s population has grown by 30 percent in the last two decades and is expected to continue growing, Breen said.

The current municipal center and library are considered to be aging and lacking space for expansion, she said.

Breen would not provide specifics on costs or plans that the committee will present Monday, but said it is proposing to “keep the Plummer-Motz/Lunt site in civic use.”

Last year the committee developed possible plans for reusing the Plummer-Motz/Lunt complex, including moving the library into the Lunt school and the municipal offices and community center into the Plummer-Motz space. The vacated buildings would be sold or leased.

Theo Holtwijk, Falmouth’s director of long-range planning, said the town has a big decision to make. Instead of paying to keep the school buildings open and empty, the town is trying to plan ahead, he said.

“Having vacant buildings is a costly enterprise. We need to have a plan in place,” he said.

“Given the current economic environment, we need to be sensitive to people’s wallets,” said Steven Tenney, a committee member who also serves on Falmouth’s parks and community programs advisory committee.

He said residents must decide what they want, and the town will respond.

There have been requests for a centralized space for community activities, meetings and workshops, he said. In particular, there is concern about space for daytime programs for senior citizens.

The Falmouth Memorial Library is quickly running out of space, said another committee member, Marsha Clark, an advisory trustee to the library.

She said space is so tight that when items are added to the collection, others have to be withdrawn.

The library also could use an expanded children’s area and more space for public-access computers, she said.

Clark said the Plummer-Motz/Lunt site could be a significant benefit to Falmouth.

“It’s available, it’s there and it offers a wealth of opportunity,” she said. “Who knows what the town will decide to do with that acreage, but I’m one who wants to look at the future.”

 

Staff Writer Justin Ellis can be contacted at 791-6380 or at: [email protected]