A survey of residents last winter found that an overwhelming majority want the former Groton Heights School saved and most would like the property used for education or recreation.
The survey was done in January and February, and results were released this week. The survey asked about three main issues: what should happen to the building, who should own and maintain it and what the property should be used for.
Archie Swindell, who compiled the results, said 143 people answered, most of whom live in Groton and pay taxes. The survey also allowed residents to leave comments.
Results showed that 81.6 percent, or 115 people, want the existing school to stay where it is. Of those surveyed, 7.1 percent said they don’t want it to remain, and 11.3 percent had no opinion.
“It holds a special place in the hearts of many residents,” one person wrote. “To demolish the building and to sell the property for profit would demonstrate that our history and our roots are unimportant.”
On the property’s use, results showed most would like it used for education or recreation: 86 people chose education as their first or second choice for future use of the property, and 72 chose recreation. The least popular choices were residential single-family lots and condominiums.
“This building should be saved as it would be a waste to raze it,” one person wrote. “DO NOT WANT residential lots.”
Another resident, who graduated for the Groton Heights Class of 1964, suggested that if the building is used for education, that the rooms be named for former teachers like John Thompson or Mary Wilson. The school could also be connected to Bill Memorial Library, and an alumni association could be formed to help fundraise for the building, the resident said.
The survey showed most want the town or city to own and maintain the property. Of those surveyed, 92 said town or city ownership would be their first or second choice.
The Groton Heights School Reuse Task Force, the group charged with recommending what to do with the school, meets next at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Groton Municipal Building.
Groton Heights, built in 1912, functioned as a school until just a few years ago. The town took it over in July 2007, after the Board of Education closed the school. It has remained vacant since. The school is situated on 2.6 acres between Smith Street, Monument Street and Fort Griswold in the city.