The former Haycock Elementary School and the 12.5 acres it rests upon will go back to Haycock Township after 60 years in the hands of Quakertown Community School District.
Last week, the school district voted to donate the building to the township and township supervisors voted Monday evening to accept the property.
Township supervisors heard from a packed meeting room mostly in support of the acquisition and eventually voted in favor of accepting the old elementary school.
There was plenty of talk about possible uses for the building.
After acquiring the building, the township faces a similar decision the school district had; whether to renovate, demolish, or sell the building.
Stephen Ripper, a member of the Quakertown Community School Board and a resident of Haycock Township came to the meeting seemingly in an attempt to dissuade the board from accepting the building without hearing more from the public.
“Over the long run, this will cost you money. Any engineer or architect will tell you today it would be cheaper to tear down that building and start over,” said Ripper. “Working on an old building, you find more and more headaches. They give you a price to do something and then they find something else.”
One resident jumped in to sum up the support for taking on the building.
“If that school goes back to Quakertown, they’re going to let it deteriorate and it is going to be a cement monument. That is not Haycock,” she said. “We’re talking more about, not just about a school, but about our community.”
The cost for Quakertown Community School District to renovate the building to get it back in to compliance as a school was estimated to $4.1 Million, Babb made it clear that the township would not incur such a high cost.
“We would also do any renovations on an as-needed basis,” said Babb. “And other a longer length of time than they do. We wouldn’t be under the gun to get it up and operating immediately.”
The cost of whatever the township decides to do with the building would come out of a land acquisition fund. If more money is needed, the board spoke of selling all or a portion of a 10-acre plot of land off route 563 in favor of the centrally located building.
Toward the end of the meeting and prior to the vote, Babb asked for a show of hands of those who were in favor taking back the building. A large majority of the room raised their hand.
“That wasn’t even a little bit close,” said Babb.
Following the meeting, residents who attended were able to sign up for a committee that will help determine how to best use the building.
Using the building for fire company breakfasts, events, and even training was the initial idea for the primary use of the building. Other ideas include using the building as a community center, library, or shelter during storms.