The former West Main Street School is now being leased to an landscape architecture firm for about $28,000 a year. File photo / The Forecaster

Yarmouth is moving forward with its search for a new owner for the old West Main Street school buildings.

The town now leases the small complex of buildings at Sligo Road and West Main Street to a landscape architecture firm.

The two brick buildings, built in the early 1800s, were schools until 1992, when Yarmouth Middle School was built and and the other schools were renovated. Ownership was turned over to the Town Council, and the buildings have been successfully leased, with conditions addressing historic preservation, since 1994.

“It’s come time where we don’t think we’re the best stewards for the building in the long term,” Town Manager Nat Tupper told The Forecaster.

A potential sale of the buildings has been in the works for more than a year. A task force created in June of 2022 determined the town should solicit purchase proposals. Last year, the town said the parcel had been assessed at $341,800.

In addition to preservation provisions, the sale will be restricted to only certain kind of businesses, Tupper said. Mechanics’ shops or enterprises that are open late at night will not be considered, for example, he said, adding that it is also unlikely the parcel would be sold for residential use.


“We don’t want to see a lot of traffic, so we don’t envision any restaurants or retail stores,” Tupper said. “They’re not absolutely prohibited, but it’s not going to lend itself to that and the rules will probably discourage it.”

The buildings are in the Upper Village Historic District, meaning demolition is prohibited.

A rough draft of a deed that will be included in the the town’s request for purchase proposals is now complete, Tupper said. The deed language will protect the history of the buildings as well as the neighbors’ right to privacy.

Since the town acquired the buildings in 1849 after splitting from North Yarmouth, the current deed is older than the town itself and does not provide much clarity.

“We’ve been working with a surveyor and the abutting landowners to define the property lines,” Yarmouth Town Council Chair David Craig told The Forecaster. “Some of them go back centuries.”

The next step in the process is to bring the proposal to the public for comment, Tupper said. He expects only abutters will have comments, most likely those advocating for historical preservation.

After the public hearing,  if the Town Council agrees, the town will finalize the request for offers and advertise the sale.

“I really, really would like to make sure it gets done this winter,” Tupper said. “They’re beautiful buildings, and I think someone with a historical preservation ethic will be very interested in them.”

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